Can you imagine Mother’s Day without mother’s day cards? Six hundred and seventy
one million dollars are spent each year on them. This year, Mother’s Day is over and most of us take it for granted that this special day of recognition has always been. Attempts at honoring mothers existed in America back in the 1870’s and the 1880’s but it wasn’t until 1908 that Anna Jarvis, saw her campaign efforts recognized here in the United States. 1914 was the year that President Woodrow Wilson signed the proclamation creating Mother’s Day, the second Sunday in May, as a National holiday.
Anna was not pleased with the commercialization of Mother’s Day. “This day is about sentiment, not profit,” she said. Her original intent was to appreciate and honor a person’s mother by writing a personal letter, by hand, expressing love and gratitude. She began boycotts and threatened lawsuits to try to stop the commercialization. Just how strongly did the founder of Mother’s Day feel about this? She crashed a candy makers convention In Philadelphia in 1923 and later protested at an American War Mothers confab where carnations were being sold. There she was arrested for the disturbing the peace. She felt so strongly about this that she tried to rescind Mother’s Day. Of course, her efforts were to no avail.
Since the early 1920’s, Hallmark and other companies have been selling Mother’s Day cards and although Anna Jarvis’s idea of a personally written note expressing love and gratitude would be the ultimate, many of us find the messages written by professionals express our feelings and are better said than we could do ourselves. Not too many years ago, card senders began underlining sentences that were especially meaningful, which helps personalize the card. Today, Mother’s Day is celebrated around the world where two billion mothers exist.
My children are very gracious in remembering me on Mother’s Day, always with Mother’s Day cards, and most always a hand written note inside. One of these cards came early enough that I can include here what it says. Inside, I loved what my
daughter-in law wrote, “I am thankful you are in my life” and my son’s hand-written comments, “Much love and appreciation.” I’ve photographed the outside of the card, and it too, appears to be hand written, although it isn’t.
As I read and reread the front of the card, I became very reflective. Obviously, this card was chosen because my children thought it described me. I felt humbled, because like most mothers I often wish I could raise my family again and do a better job. I must confess that the job of raising our family, all five children, being born only a few years apart, seemed like a very looong time. Well, at the time it did, but as I look back those years just slipped by.
Getting back to the card, the first line reads, “Mom, you’re a woman with unbelievable strength.” And, it’s true, but only because of the strength God supplies. He promises that His strength will carry us through, no matter how tough the circumstance we face. I recall the time I was in tears after the kids with muddy feet tracked across my just-scrubbed kitchen floor. That doesn’t sound very strong, does it? I do remember being strong physically and carrying a baby on each hip with one in tow hanging on to my skirt. ( I admire today’s mothers when I see them moving children from car seats to strollers, to shopping carts.) Yes, a mother’s physical strength needs to be that supplied by youth.
The next line on the card reads: “Unforgettable beauty.” It could mean physical beauty, still lurking somewhere in my aging face, but it’s more than likely that an inner beauty is meant here, the result of God’s workings in my life. Lastly, it reads: “And a heart full of unconditional love.” Occasionally you hear of a mother, who because of her children’s actions has disowned them, but most mothers’ love remains no matter what a child has done, that’s where I am.
Inside the card there’s a line of print that says, “There’s just no one else like you.” This is true and I hope all mother’s realize this. We are each a unique creation of God and one of the greatest privileges in our lives is that of being a mother.
P.S. I like to keep you updated on how this blog is doing. Many of the comments I receive are made by a faithful few who have read Shirl and You since I began writing it nearly three years ago. These are much appreciated. Each week I coax for others to write, so I have to tell you about the one coming in last week. A woman wrote that she reads many blogs and found mine to be” feature based writing.” But what really caught my eye was her URL which reads NYTimes.com. I got excited. Would they carry Shirl and You in the NY Times? Of course, I was day dreaming a bit, however, I greatly appreciate that our local newspaper, “Suburban News,” is doing just that.