Anna Jarvis created Mother’s Day in 1910, to honor her own mother, who cared for Civil War soldiers and worked tirelessly on Public Health issues. Her idea took off, but by the 1920’s it had become commercialized and Anna actively tried to rescind the holiday. It was too late. When I was a girl, my parents called holidays like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day “Hallmark holidays”, which existed for the purpose of selling cards and flowers. Now, it has escalated way past that. Advertising implies that if my kids don’t buy me jewelry (a car, a new bed, etc) this weekend, it is a sign they don’t love or appreciate me. Anna Jarvis would be horrified.
Obviously, my family never observed this type of holiday, and I didn’t even pay much attention to it until the year my own mother died. Then, when I walked into Fred Meyer a few weeks after she died, in April 2000, I was struck by the bombardment of Mother’s Day advertising. What about those of us without mothers? Stick a knife in the wound, why don’t you? After the first impact, I was prepared and gradually learned to ignore it.
I did enjoy Mother’s Day when the kids were young. They would make crafts at school to give to me, and I still treasure those. I don’t think giving your mother a hand-crafted item should be limited to a special occasion, but I’ll take what I can get!
I lost my Mom too early, and I miss her – not as intensely or as often as in the first years after she died so unexpectedly. But I do miss her. We were close, and spent lots of time together. She was a terrific grandmother, and was completely devoted to my family. We didn’t need a holiday to let her know how much we loved and appreciated her, we were able to tell her and show her any and every day of the week. I didn’t realize how important that was until we lost her, and I was grateful that we had a huge bank of memories to draw from – casual dinners in her back yard after work, the kids helping her weed her garden, laughing when her puppy, Sandy, dug up the carrots. It is the simple memories that last.
So, if you are lucky enough to still have her in this world – call your Mom, take her to lunch, share a funny video on her FB page, whatever you can do to stay connected. Every day is an opportunity to connect with those that we love!