Image: Anna Marie Jarvis.
Conroe, May 13 – Happy Mothers’ Day to all mothers, but especially to Anna Marie Jarvis! Who?
Jarvis was the founder of Mothers’ Day, when in 1908, she held a celebration to commemorate the life of her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, who had died three years earlier. Jarvis held the commemorative ceremony at her church, St. Andrew’s Methodist Church, in Grafton, West Virginia. Jarvis had begun a campaign to recognize motherhood in the United States. The United States Congress rejected her proposal as a national holiday. Nevertheless, in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation recognizing the second Sunday of every May as a holiday recognizing motherhood. Many states had followed Jarvis’ leadership before the federal government got into the act.
Mothers’ Day in the United States is quite different from the pagan rituals and from the Catholic Church holiday, both of which commemorated the “mother church.” In the United States, Americans commemorate motherhood.
Mothers’ Day is often a day of sadness or quiet reflection for those who have lost their mothers. For those fortunate individuals whose mothers are still alive, it can be a day of great celebration.
Motherhood is a great challenge, especially as children enter adolescence and adulthood. Mothers often must compete varying interests between children and their fathers. Every mother faces serious challenges no matter how great their children may be.
One of the most interesting stories of motherhood is the tense one involving great left offensive tackle Michael Oher whose mother had a terrible drug addiction problem, as the book and movie “The Blind Side” showed. Despite her addiction, Oher’s mother always loved him but she was unable to fulfill her role as a mother. Her physical addiction overcame her ability to act his Oher’s mother but it never overcame her unconditional love for her unusual son.
As we celebrate Mothers’ Day, it’s important not only to remember how much we may love our mothers. It’s far more important to remember the enormous challenges that our mothers have faced. Mothers face those challenges but they also tend to live the successes and failures of their children. Each arrow a child takes in his or her life is one which his or her mother suffers as well, in addition to her own problems.
Motherhood is certainly worthy of celebration, admiration, and deep respect.