I just returned from my daily trip to the grocery store, where the air was filled with aromatic flowers, floating helium balloons, and the whirring sound of the chocolate machine coating dozens of extra large strawberries. The greeting card aisle resembled a mosh pit at a popular concert. My experience today paused me to remember the founder of America’s Mother’s Day, Anna Jarvis.
In May, 1907, Anna held a memorial service to honor her late mother in Grafton, West Virginia. Her mother, Ann had organized women’s groups to advance friendship and health, and Jarvis wanted to establish a holiday to recognized the importance of mothers to their families. Five years later most US states observed Mother’s Day; in 1914, President Wilson proclaimed it a national holiday. In 1948, Jarvis died. She had spent the last years of her life lobbying to abolish the holiday; it’s original intent had become too commercial.
Today, 109 years later, I witnessed first hand Jarvis’s pet peeve. However, as I watched the delight on children’s faces as their fathers or other adults helped them choose the perfect balloon, card, and/or bouquet for Mom, I saw admiration, respect, and love. They wanted to honor their mothers. Even though it cost money, it was a warm, sincere thank you to their biggest cheerleader.
Happy Mother’s Day.