This Sunday is a special day for the mothers in our midst.
As it turns out both my children will be in Whitehorse on Mother’s Day. Tyler flew out to visit his sister earlier this week. As I drove back from the airport I started feeling pretty sorry for myself. I thought, “I won’t have my kids with me on Mother’s day. So sad.”
And then I started wondering: Why? Why was I sad? Had I too, bought into the whole Mother’s Day consumer madness? Did I feel bad because all the commercials on TV and store flyers at my door tell me that my children should be with me on this day? Not just with me, but showering me with adoration, cards and gifts? And if they are not with me, like the TV ads suggest, is something wrong with me? Am I not a good mother?
So how did it all start?
I decided to do a Google search on the origins of this “special” day, and what I found was rather surprising.
You probably know that Mother’s Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of May. But did you know Mother’s Day was proclaimed a national holiday in the United States by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914?
It seems that the woman who began Mother’s Day, Anna Jarvis, did so in honour of her own mother who had passed away two years earlier. In 1908 Jarvis held a service in West Virginia which so moved her that she embarked on a national campaign to have the country honour the many contributions that mother’s make. By 1914 Mother’s Day had generated such momentum and President Wilson agreed to Jarvis’ request to set aside a day each year to honour our mothers.
Here’s the interesting part. Anna Jarvis was horrified by what Mother’s Day had become. Jarvis felt that companies had exploited the idea of Mother's Day, which was to be about sentiment, not profit. I read that she was so enraged by the commercialism that in 1923 she filed a lawsuit to stop a Mother’s Day festival. She was later arrested for disturbing the peace when she learned that a war mother’s convention was selling white carnations—Jarvis’ symbol for mothers—to raise money. “This is not what I intended,” Jarvis said. “I wanted it to be a day of sentiment, not profit!”
I believe dear Anna Jarvis was right.
Jarvis had apparently started something that she could not stop. It was reported that she died at 84, never a mother herself, and that she spent most of the fortune her own mother left her to fight a holiday she created to honour her.
I hope I don’t sound cynical but Mother’s day is a fabricated day. Shouldn’t every day be Mother’s Day? I am not saying this because I am blessed to be a mother, or because I am the daughter of an amazing mother, or because I won’t be with my kids on this day.
Scripture tells us: Honour your father and your mother (Exodus 20:12). I don’t read, “Honour them once a year, or when it’s convenient.” Honour them always! All the time!
I don’t need a card to tell my mother I love and appreciate her. I just need to look her in the eyes and tell her.
Likewise, I don’t need my kids to buy me stuff. I’m sure they will be relieved, and maybe even surprised to read this, but all I need is for them to just say they love me and appreciate me. Not just on the second Sunday in May, but often. Dare I say, every day. ;)
“May she who gave you birth be joyful!”, Proverbs 23:25.