Anna Jarvis created Mother’s Day in 1908 with a memorial service for her mother at her church in Grafton, West Virginia. According to various sources, Anna’s mother, Ann, was a peace activist who had cared for wounded soldiers on both sides during America’s Civil War. Daughter Anna wanted to honor her mother and all mothers because she believed that mothers were “the person(s) who (have) done more for you than anyone in the world.”
Mother’s Day quickly became popular. Who could argue against shining a light on Mom?
Politicians in Washington, D.C., jumped on the Mother’s Day bandwagon and made it a national holiday in 1914. By the 1920s, businesses – notably greeting card makers – were capitalizing on the money-making potential of honoring Mom.
Anna Jarvis was not impressed. She so resented the commercialization of Mother’s Day, she spent the rest of her life trying to remove it from the calendar!
While I don’t want to see Mother’s Day removed from the calendar, I’m with Anna when it comes to placing the focus of the celebration where it belongs: Mom.
Perhaps it can begin with breakfast in bed, some handmade cards and a bunch of spring wildflowers, snipped and bundled. But, let it continue with something mothers treasure most of all: time spent with their children.
When your Mom says she doesn’t want presents, she just wants to be with you, believe her.
It’s important to recognize the commitment, the love and the compassion that mothers show to their children. It’s just as important to recognize that biology isn’t necessary to make a motherly connection. Love is.
Just ask a Home Finder in CHD’s Foster Care program. Foster mothers provide love in large measures to some of our community’s most vulnerable, abused and neglected children. Their work is both positive and permanent. Years after foster children “age out” of the care system, so many return successful and thank their “moms” for what they made possible.
Every day, in so many of CHD’s programs, our staff supports mothers who are working to overcome situations and personal hardships that prevent them from being the mothers they want to be, and which we know they can be. In programs such as Grace House and Two Rivers where moms in early stages of recovery from substance use live with their children, and in Family Outreach where moms “Strive to Thrive” to be consistent caregivers for their children, women throughout our community are gaining the life skills to be their child’s first and best teacher, provider and protector.
Yes, mothers of all kinds provide love every day, but there’s just one day each year when we all pause to celebrate it.
On the second Sunday in May, moms young and old are recognized not simply for having children, but for providing them with the care, compassion and consistent parenting that positively impacts a child’s physical, mental and emotional well-being. That’s what we should celebrate on Mother’s Day.
On Sunday, I hope you’ll give YOUR mom – whether biological, adoptive, fostering or mother-in-fact – the best gift a kid can offer: your thanks expressed through time spent together.