Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day: A Hundred Years Later

More than a hundred years ago, Julia Ward Howe made a call for Peace and a plea for people of good will to lay down their weapons. Too many limbs and lives of precious loved ones were lost due to wholesale war against people and fellow citizens that had more in common than not. Diplomacy was the goal then and now, as Mothers since the beginning of time tried settling disputes between warring factions or toddler revolts over the last cookie. With no ability to vote, Julia determined to make the plea and a formal Mother's Day Proclamation, knowing someone needed to organize the people for the Common Good of the nation. A revered team of Mothers gathering together would make an impression hard to dismiss by the powers that be. Julia keenly felt the voice of Mothers as she lost her own at the tender age of 5. Her voice was not heeded.

However, it took a poor Appalachian woman to inspire Julia and make her and the nation aware of the conditions many mothers faced in harsh conditions and rural settings. Anna Jarvis was pragmatic wanting a simple memorial to mothers in light of their lives. Her activism was on work days and getting improved sanitation for both sides fighting in the Civil War. A church, Saint Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church stands in testament in Grafton, West Virginia since the celebration of its first Mother's Day, Sunday may 10, 1908. Anna's creativity was passed down to her daughter who wanted to commemorate her mother by handing out 500 white carnations to each mother in the sanctuary. And thus it began, her mother's hope chest embedded in her daughter's spirit to make a lasting impact on those around her.
Three years after her mother died in 1905, she organized the first official mother's day service at a church where her mother had spent more than 20 years teaching Sunday school.

The shrine also serves as a "reminder to the accomplishments of these women and to the issues mothers still deal with today, trying to do the balancing act of being everything to everyone," said Cindi Mason, the shrine's director.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 83 million mothers in the United States. More mothers now work out of the home and the number of single-mother households has tripled to more than 10 million since 1970.

What has allowed Mother's Day to become celebrated on the second Sunday in May in 52 countries is "everyone has a mother," said Sally Thayer, a trustee of the International Mother's Day Shrine in Grafton. "It's a wonderful thing to celebrate."

My Mom is special for reasons that have nothing to do with being a mom. Her innate spirit of wanting to explore and experience are characteristics that create joy. She gets impatient when things are not exactly right, but the joy of living shines through once the storm clouds pass. That's why I love her and look at her example of fearlessness and Hope, no matter what the day brings. In that, I have a gift from her that shall never perish but reside in my heart which loves her for the person that she is today. Thank you Mom. I love you, Always and appreciate each prayer and every Blessing.

One of her favorite books is from author/actress Rebecca Wells born in Louisiana raised in Seattle, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. Sandra Bullock played the actress in the movie version.

Happy Mother's Day to All, Everywhere!

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