Saturday, May 8, 2010

Taking Mother's Day Personally

Mother's Day hasn't always been a "Hallmark holiday". Though there have been occasions to honor women or mothers throughout time, Mother's Day as we know it today is mostly the commercialized evolution of of what began as a daughter's memorial to her mother who had passed two years before. In 1914, Anna Jarvis succeeded in having "Mother's Day" become a nationally recognized holiday. Much to her chagrin, it didn't take long for the commercial interests to jump on board. 

From Wikipedia: By the 1920s, Anna Jarvis had become soured by the commercialization of the holiday. She incorporated herself as the Mother’s Day International Association, trademarked the phrases "second Sunday in May" and "Mother's Day", and was once arrested for disturbing the peace. She and her sister Ellsinore spent their family inheritance campaigning against the holiday. Both died in poverty. According to her New York Times obituary, Jarvis became embittered because too many people sent their mothers a printed greeting card. As she said,
A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world. And candy! You take a box to Mother—and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment.
—Anna Jarvis.[2]
 A devoted daughter, she clearly had a vision for each of us to take just one day out of our busy lives to personally thank our moms and to show them some appreciation for all the sacrifices they made for us over the years. Now, I understand that not everyone has/had Harriet Nelson for a mother, but there was  most likely a positive maternal influence of some kind in your life. A grandmother, an aunt, cousin, neighbor, family friend, parole officer, etc. How do you intend to show your appreciation to that person or honor their memory this Sunday?

This was my mom in her heyday, pre-flighting whatever crate she'd been assigned for the day's target-towing mission. I don't know exactly where this was taken, but it would've been March Field, Muroc or one of the many dry lakes the WASP were flying from in Southern California in 1944. I didn't get to know her until several years later. I always thought she was just a regular mom. She cooked & cleaned, taught me how to make snow angels, packed my lunch, cut my hair, nursed the usual scrapes and bruises. All the regular mom things. Now I know she was Harriett Nelson with a major attitude!

Being the youngest of a big family has plenty of upside, but there is a big downside. My super-mom passed away half of my lifetime ago, but that doesn't mean I'm off the hook, far from it. Now, mom was a very selfless, honest and practical person. The last thing she would want me doing is rambling on in her honor, wasting my energy and boring you to tears.

In the spirit of Anna Jarvis' vision, this will be a personal day in our home. Our grown kids still hand-make the cards they will give their mom. They think its just to save $2.00, but its really because I want them to keep it personal & my wife really enjoys them. They will help with chores while I plant the flowers she picked out at the nursery last Sunday and I will prepare the dinner of her choice. It will only be a mere token compared to what she does for us every day and something we should do more often. And yes, I'll be thinking of my mom all day. Honoring her memory by making Mother's Day a very personal day for my family.

Take a little time this weekend to appreciate the people you love and that have done so much for you.

No comments:

Post a Comment