This editorial first ran in The Daily Star in 2001. It runs again this year in tribute to all moms for Mother’s Day.
All of us have or have had one:
Not all, or any, of us will celebrate or recognize Mother’s Day on Sunday in the same way.
The day’s activities can be as diverse as our mothers. Breakfast in bed, cards, telephone calls, flowers and dinners are traditional ways to honor Mom. Some children give the gift of spending time with Mom, and others may find new ways to pay respects.
In the United States, Mother’s Day started nearly 150 years ago, when Anna Jarvis, an Appalachian homemaker, organized a “Mother’s Work Day” to raise awareness of poor health conditions in her community, according to Studio Melizo’s Holidays on the Net.
Her daughter, also named Anna, later lobbied businessmen and politicians to designate a special day to honor mothers.
In 1914, Woodrow Wilson signed a bill recognizing Mother’s Day as a national holiday on the second Sunday in May.
Julia Ward Howe, a Boston poet, pacifist, suffragist and author of the lyrics to the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” also has been credited with suggesting a “mother’s day,” as she organized a day encouraging mothers to rally for peace about 130 years ago.
Over the decades, the holiday has taken on a note of commercialism, critics would say, but what holiday hasn’t? The intent of Mother’s Day doesn’t have to be lost; just a little time is needed to make it personal.
We can take Mother’s Day as a day to reflect on who our mother was and how she helped us become who we are. She probably had hopes for us, her children, and expectations that were a guide. She may have helped with homework, taken us to soccer games and band practice, swimming lessons and the dentist.
And in these days of nontraditional families, there may be more than one person filling the role of Mom. Children and teens today may have foster moms, stepmoms, substitute and surrogate moms.
For children early in life, these women are a connection to a larger world, and it may take years to recognize that mothers also have other roles in that world. Mothers may have jobs and other relationships to foster.
And mothers’ roles and responsibilities change somewhat as children become adults and parents themselves.
For each of us, the definition of motherhood is different, and if nothing more, Mother’s Day is a reminder of what “mother” has meant through the years from childhood to adulthood.
There are millions of mothers, and there are millions of ways to acknowledge Mom on Mother’s Day. If time escapes us on other days of the year, Sunday is the day to express appreciation to Mom.