By Jim Perry, Publisher
Did you know that exactly 100 years ago the term Mother’s Day was
officially named and celebrated on the second Sunday in May? It's
true. Let's pause and reflect on mom for a spell. After all, if it
weren't for her we wouldn't even be here.
Anna Jarvis, daughter of Anna Reeves Jarvis, who had moved from
Grafton, West Virginia, to Philadelphia, in 1890, was the power behind
the official establishment of Mother's Day. She swore at her mother's
graveside in 1905 that she would establish Mother's Day during her
lifetime to honor mothers, living and dead. At her church, St. Andrews
in Grafton, West Virginia, Anna Jarvis handed out flowers to every mom
in the congregation in honor of her late Mother. With that, the idea
of celebrating Mother's Day had begun. That church was the first
church to have a Mother's Day service in 1908.
The next year a few more churches celebrated, then in 1911, Mother's
Day services were held for the first time in every state in the Union,
plus Canada and Mexico. In 1912 she officially trademarked the name
“Mother’s Day” and “second Sunday in May.” Anna was very specific
about the apostrophe in Mother’s Day. She wanted the singular
possessive usage to honor your own special mom. The plural possessive
usage of Mothers’ would refer to every mother in the world. She didn’t
It wasn't until 1914 that the U.S. Congress passed a Joint Resolution,
and President Woodrow Wilson signed it, establishing Mother's Day and
emphasizing the woman's role in the family. So, you might say Mother's
Day is 100 years old, or 101, or 98, or whatever. No matter what,
today is the day.
The U.S. Census Bureau says there are 82.5 million mothers in this
country. Hallmark says that 96% of American consumers take part in
celebrating Mother's Day in some way. It is generally considered to be
the peak day of the year for long distance phone calls. It is the
busiest day of the year for many restaurants. Like Christmas, it's
just too commercial. Retailers report that Mother's Day is the second
highest gift-giving holiday in the United States, second only to
Anna Jarvis became increasingly concerned over the commercialization
of Mother's Day She said she wanted it to be a day of sentiment, not
profit. She opposed the selling of flowers and also the use of
greeting cards which she said were "a poor excuse for the letter you
are too lazy to write."
Certainly, if you're in the mood to go out, then do it. You can take
mom out to eat, take her shopping and get her a card. However, here
are some other ways to commemorate her Mother's Day.
If your mom has passed, you can build a memorial meadow by sowing
seeds in your backyard or pasture with hundreds of wildflowers or
choose some of her favorite flowers. My mom especially liked tulips,
roses, lilies, snapdragons, and gladiolas. Why not plant a tree in
mom’s honor? Write a poem that pays tribute to the best things your
mom taught you.
In honor of your mother, take a bag of sugar-free candy treats and
handmade cards to elderly moms in some of the area nursing homes.
Give a few dollars to a needy mom or to the women's shelter. How about
an anonymous gift to a single mom or an adopted family down the
If your mom is still with you, write a journal for her that includes
your favorite times together. Take mom down memory lane with a
scrapbook of your favorite family pictures. Combine the photos and
journal for a keepsake she'll never forget.
Spend some time with your mom today. Reminisce, laugh and interact
with her. Time together is the most cherished gift of all. I was
fortunate to be able to spend some special time with my mother before
she passed away. We just tried to remember the best of times.
Those are the times I'll never forget.