Most of us remember at least one of our Mother’s Day Cards created when we were children.
I was in the second grade. I decorated it with crayon drawings of flowers. The card read, “In All the World There is No Other, Can Take the Place of My Dear Mother.”
In those days, Mother’s Day was pretty simple.
Anna Jarvis first promoted the suggestion for a Mother’s Day in 1905, the year her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, died. Anna held a memorial for her mother at St. Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, W. Va. Today, St. Andrew’s now holds the International Mother’s Day Shrine.
Her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, had been a peace activist who cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the American Civil War, and she created “Mother’s Day Work Clubs,” to address public health issues.
Anna Jarvis wanted to honor her mother by continuing the work she started and to set aside a day to honor all mothers. She believed that a mother was “the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world.”
After several attempts to make Mother’s Day a national holiday, finally in 1914 Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating Mother’s Day, held on the second Sunday in May, as a national holiday to honor mothers. Woodrow was a smart man to honor these women.
He knew which side his bread was buttered on!
However, Jarvis soon became quite resentful of the commercialization of the holiday.
By the early 1920s, Hallmark Cards and other companies had started selling Mother’s Day cards.
Jarvis believed that the companies had misinterpreted and exploited the idea of Mother’s Day, and that the emphasis of the holiday was on sentiment, not profit. As a result, she organized boycotts of Mother’s Day, and threatened lawsuits against the companies involved.
She was a busy little bee, wasn’t she?
Jarvis argued that people should appreciate and honor their mothers through handwritten letters expressing their love and gratitude, instead of buying gifts and pre-made cards. She protested at a candy makers’ convention in Philadelphia in 1923, and a meeting of American War Mothers in 1925.
By this time carnations had become the official flower associated with Mother’s Day and the selling of carnations by the American War Mothers to raise money angered Jarvis who was arrested for disturbing the peace.
I wonder if she had any children at home? No, actually, she never married.
In 1912, when Anna Jarvis was still stomping and crusading for a recognition day for Mother, she created the “Mother’s Day International Association.”
She specifically noted that “Mother’s” should be singular possessive, for each family to honor its own mother, not a plural possessive commemorating all the mothers in the world; e.g. Mothers’.
She was very particular how the word “Mother’s” would be apostrophized.
She would have approved of my simple, grade school card, I am sure.
The point was made. Anna Jarvis spent her time crusading for this holiday. She did it. Now we have it.
Mother deserves it.
How many times have we chuckled upon hearing an athlete express his thanks for an award or recognition say, “If it weren’t for my mom, I wouldn’t be here!”
So, she may be sweet, she may be sour, pretty or ugly, fat or thin, loving or brittle — but she is a force to be reckoned with; and a powerful influence in our society.
Happy Mother’s Day.
“A Woman’s View” is Judi Tabler’s reflection of her experiences and events. She is a wife, mother, writer, teacher, grandmother, and even a great grandmother. Contact Annie at pprarieannie@gmailcom