The gift of a mother's love and care has been celebrated since the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans. In medieval England, a Sunday in May was given as a holiday so people could go home and visit their mothers. It was called Mothering Sunday.
In America, Anna Jarvis' mother died in 1905 and Anna worked to create a holiday in America to thank mothers for all they do. On the anniversary of her mother's death, Anna arranged for living mothers to be given a pink carnation, a white carnation was given for those who had lost their mothers. She then worked to get the government to pass a bill to make it an official holiday, which President Wilson did in 1914. For Jarvis the point was to get young people to write a letter to their mothers thanking them for all they had done for them. But commercialization soon took over and the handwritten thank you letter was replaced by flowers and cards.
In fact, Mother's Day is the biggest day, in the U.S., for florists and the phone company!
Personally, whatever acknowledgement I get from my daughter is dearly appreciated, and she does many things to help me. She just texted me that she has bought me a ukulele which I mentioned to her that I would like to learn to play. More on that when it comes - I'll post an update on ukuleles and my progress.
Meanwhile I want to remember my mother, Mary Lavinia Wright, who was a gentle, loving, gracious woman, unfailingly kind and devoted to her family. She died in December 2000 and left a wound in this family that can never be healed even by time. My mother bought me blooks on every holiday because she knew I loved to read, and she sewed me lovely clothes with her tremendous skill. She was not only a fine seamstress, she was a wonderful cook, baker, and she loved to paint. I have one of her landscapes from West Virginia hanging in my den. My mother loved to play the piano, and the organ, both of which were supplied to her by my father who appreciated all that my mother did to make a beautiful home for us and he supported her efforts.
My mother also found time to volunteer for the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and for her church, the Episcopalian church. She was a good friend to all and a popular neighbor. One of my fondest memories of our life in Maple Shade was when the other mothers would gather in my mother's dining room for coffee after the husbands and kids were off to school. The Bond Bread Man, Steve, would drop in for a cup of coffee from Mom's large silver percolator, and she would buy donuts. All the ladies would sit around drinking coffee, eating donuts, smoking their cigarettes and sharing their life and experience stories with one another. They would be in their housecoats with their hair in pin curls wrapped in scarves, and I loved to stay home from school sick, so I could hide out of sight but not out of hearing of this view of the grown up world.
My mother also loved to can and preserve the fruits and vegetable my father and she grew in our large kitchen garden in the back. When they moved from Philadelphia to New Jersey, they threw themselves into gardening. The main thing I remember about them was how happy they were. They were so young and beautiful, and grateful for their many blessings. My father had survived the War, and my mother had the home of her dreams.
I was lucky to have such a wonderful mother, an inspiration and a consolation. Also, I would have to say that in my own life of many adventures and accomplishments, my greatest achievement was having and raising my own daughter who has always been the true love of my life. I had a great mother, and I strove always to be a good mother. If the health, beauty, and goodness of my own daughter is any proof, I succeeded.
It isn't easy to be a mother. You start off at the very beginning learning how much of yourself you have to sacrifice. You have to put someone else's needs always ahead of your own beginning with getting up in the night to feed the baby when you want to sleep, and changing the diapers, and staying home when you want to go out, but you learn soon enough that the sacrifices are small compared to the love that you give and the love that you get from that child and the fun and joy you get from sharing their childhood, when your own childhood has been left so far behind in time that you have forgotten the beauty of it. What an adventure enjoying the years as your child grows up to be an adult.
So, I am grateful for the mother I had, and grateful that I had the opportunity to be a mother! To all the mothers - Happy Mother's Day and to all who had a mother - remember her today!