Anna Jarvis created Mother’s Day and President Woodrow Wilson signed legislation making it a national holiday. Since that early part of the last century, Mother’s Day has flourished in the United States. Mother’s wake up to flowers, candies, special dinners, cards, and the usual, “I love you mom!” Anna Jarvis envisioned a day when each mother would feel special, honored and lifted up. Jarvis thought mothers were special, and despite the commercialization of the holiday – something Jarvis did not approve of in the least – the day remains a special day to honor mothers.
Although Mother’s Day only became a national holiday for the United States in 1914, the honoring of mothers can be traced back to the earliest times. We could look back to the primal caveman who first heard the cry of a newborn baby as his mate delivered it into the world and to the moment that the caveman realized it was something special. The caveman would defend his mate, the mother of his child, to the end. His mate, the cavewoman, would in turn shield her own baby from those that would cause harm – even if it meant giving up her life as well. These primal urges became the foundation of honoring the mother.
Motherhood can be traced from the moment of birth, and often to the moment of death, for being there for their children. But the “Mother” goes further. There are mothers who have never given birth, but who have stood up for a child through adoption, legal or symbolically, and have become mothers through the process. Often a mother is a woman who takes over when the birth mother is no longer around. A mother may take over for a deceased mother, or a woman who has decided not to be involved. Mothers can come from anywhere, but they all have one thing in common – they become the caring, loving and nurturing parent to a child. A mother takes on a responsibility that is either thrust upon them by nature or thrusts upon them by circumstances. The true mother does it joyfully.
Mothers come from all walks of life. They are housekeepers, previous parents, business leaders, nurses, doctors, teachers, and so many other things. Despite their various backgrounds and histories, they still have that one common core – they care, love and nurture.
A mother is there in the good times when a child wins his or her first award at school, and the mother is also there in the bad times like when the child experiences his or her first heartbreak. A mother is there when a child first scratches out an “A” on a large lined tablet, and that mother is there when that child walks at graduation. A mother is there when the child takes his or her first breath, the first taste of food, first walk, first cry, first day at school, the first day to go to college or work, and when that child becomes a bride or groom. A mother is there when her own role changes from mother to grandmother. During all these times, a mother shines as she cares, loves, and nurtures.
No, a mother is not simply someone who gives birth because anyone can do that. A mother must choose to be a mother. She must actively seek, try, and work at being a mother. In fact, there is no harder or greater job in the world than that of being a mother. It’s a job that starts early and never ends – It never ends because even if your own mother is no longer here today, she is still your mother. No matter what stage in your life she made it to, she is still your mother – believe and know, that all mothers – if they could – would still be here – still caring, still loving, and still nurturing each and every moment of your life. A mother’s work is hard. A mother’s work is never done. And even when that day comes, and your mother has left this world, she is still your mother.
So today say “Thank you”. Say, “I love you.” Say, “You’re special to me.” Tell your mother she made a difference and is making a difference – it will mean more than all the flowers, all the cards, and all the dinners you could ever give or serve. If by chance your mother is no longer with us, then lift up a little prayer – ask God to deliver it for you – after all, God made mothers and I think he might just enjoy conveying your message to your mom in Heaven.