Mother’s Day

One of Life’s Great Miracles
by Alexander Green

Today I’d like to say a few words about an enormously important group of people.

Pastor John S.C. Abbott said they have "as powerful an influence over the welfare of future generations as all other earthly causes combined."

Historian Will Durant called them nothing less than "the nucleus of civilization."

A Jewish proverb tells us that God created them because He couldn’t be everywhere.

I’m talking, of course, about mothers.

Consider yours. Without her, you wouldn’t be sitting here. But biology is the least of it, really!!

We would not have survived – not any of us – had we not been deeply loved and cared for in the first years of life.

Your mother is almost certainly your first memory. Yet even before memories, her voice created your first sense of security, her touch your first experience of affection, her constant care and attention the impression that we live in an idyllic world of limitless compassion.

We don’t, of course, but isn’t it a beautiful way to start?

Your mother was your earliest teacher, your strongest advocate, your first love. And as you grew, so did her sacrifices.

When you got sick, she took care of you. When you got in trouble, she took up for you. When you had some place to go … she took you.

As one of four boys, I grew up convinced that my mother’s mission on earth was to be a cook, maid, nurse, counselor, referee and, of course, chauffer. (Peter DeVries once described a mother as someone whose role is "to deliver children obstetrically once, and by car for ever after.")

In a large household, of course, a mother’s work is never really done. Friends, however, would sometimes remind my Mom how fortunate she was to have five strong men around to help out. Hmmm…

I remember the time a neighbor dropped by during the playoffs. "Hey," he said looking at the five of us draped across the furniture, "how come all you guys are in here watching the game and your Mom is out front mowing the lawn?"

"I dunno," I remember saying. "I think she likes it."

How’s that for appreciation?

In our home, my Mom ran everything, organized everything, remembered everything and, it’s embarrassing to recall, did almost everything that needed doing, too.

To top it off, she made – and still makes – a vegetable soup that is nothing short of spectacular. I don’t mean it’s tasty. I mean it is ambrosia.

(If you’re skeptical that anything truly stunning can be done with vegetable soup, it only means you’ve never tasted hers. No one who has would ever contest the claim.)

A mother’s influence is hard to overstate. In many ways, it is incalculable.

Her love – the strongest, blindest and most exquisite – is neither acquired nor deserved. Nor can it ever be fully acknowledged.

Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins captures this sentiment beautifully in one of his poems:

The Lanyard
The other day as I was riocheting slowly
off the pale blue walls of this room,
bouncing from typewriter to piano,
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.

No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one more suddenly into the past–
a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp
by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid thin plastic strips
into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.

I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
or wear one, if that’s what you did with them,
but that did not keep me from crossing
strand over strand again and again
until I had made a boxy
red and white lanyard for my mother.
She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sickroom,
lifted teaspoons of medicine to my lips,
set cold face-cloths on my forehead,
and then led me out into the airy light
and taught me to walk and swim,
and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
Here are thousands of meals, she said,
and here is clothing and a good education.
And her is your lanyard, I replied,
which I made with a little help from a counselor.

Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth,
and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
And here, I wish to say to her now,
is a smaller gift–not the archaic truth

that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took
the two-tone lanyard from my hands,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless, worthless thing I wove
out of boredom would be enough to make us even.

Why am I sharing this?

This weekend you have the opportunity to honor the person whose place no one else can take, the woman to whom you owe your very existence.

And let us remember, your mother may not be the person who biologically delivered you.  Your “real mother” may be an adoptive mother, a step-mother, a foster mother, or another female friend, relative or guardian who took that role… and you know who she is.  She is your mom.

Perhaps she deserves not a card, a phone call, or a box of chocolates, but an expression of genuine gratitude.

If she is around, cherish her. If she is not, cherish her memory.

Before you were conceived, she wanted you, even if she is your adoptive mother. From the moment she knew you were coming, she loved you. When you came into her life, she was willing to sacrifice everything for you.

Is this not one of life’s great miracles?

Carpe Diem, Alex

United States Mother’s Day

Early "Mother’s Day" was mostly marked by women’s peace groups. A common early activity was the meeting of groups of mothers whose sons had fought or died on opposite sides of the American Civil War. In New York City, Julia Ward Howards led a "Mother’s Day" anti-war observance in 1872, which was accompanied by a Mother’s Day Proclamation. The observance continued in Boston for about ten years under Howe’s personal sponsorship, then died out.

Several years later, a Mother’s Day observance on May 13, 1877 was held in Albion, Michigan, over a dispute related to the temperance movement the second Sunday of the month. According to local legend, Albion pioneer, Juliet Calhoun Blakeley, stepped up to complete the sermon of the Rev. Myron Daughterty, who was distraught because an anti-temperance group had forced his son and two other temperance advocates to spend the night in a saloon and become publicly drunk. In the pulpit, Blakeley called on other mothers to join her. Blakeley’s two sons, both traveling salesmen, were so moved that they vowed to return each year to pay tribute to her and embarked on a campaign to urge their business contacts to do likewise. At their urging, in the early 1880s, the Methodist Episcopal Church in Albion set aside the second Sunday in May to recognize the special contributions of mothers.

Frank E. Hering, President of the Fraternal Order of Eagles, made the first known public plea for "a national day to honor our mothers" in 1904.

In its present form, Mother’s Day was established by Anna Marie Jarvis, following the death of her mother on May 9, 1905; she campaigned to establish Mother’s Day as a U.S. national, and later an international, holiday.

Originally the Andrew’s Methodist Episcopal Church, the site of the original Mother’s Day commemoration, where Anna handed out carnations, the International Mother’s Day Shrine is now a National Historic Landmark. From there, the custom caught on—spreading eventually to 46 states. The holiday was declared officially by some states as early as 1912, beginning with West Virginia. On May 8, 1914, the U.S. Congress passed a law designating the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day and requesting a proclamation. On May 9, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson made that proclamation, declaring the first national Mother’s Day, as a day for American citizens to show the flag in honor of those mothers whose sons had died in war.

Carnations have come to represent Mother’s Day, since they were delivered at one of its first celebrations by its founder. This also started the custom of wearing a carnation on Mother’s Day. The founder, Anna Jarvis, chose the carnation because it was the favorite flower of her mother. In part due to the shortage of white carnations, and in part due to the efforts to expand the sales of more types of flowers in Mother’s Day, the florists promoted wearing a red carnation if your mother was living, and a white one if was dead; this was tirelessly promoted until it made its way into the popular observations at churches.

In May 2008, the US House of Representatives voted twice on a resolution commemorating Mother’s Day, the first one being unanimous so that all congressmen would be on record showing support for Mother’s Day.

 

Happy Mother’s Day~~

About Ask Marion

I am a babyboomer and empty nester who savors every moment of my past and believes that it is the responsibility of each of us in my generation and Americans in general to make sure that America is as good or even a better place for future generations as it was for us. So far... we haven't done very well!! Favorite Quotes: "The first 50 years are to build and acquire; the second 50 are to leave your legacy"; "Do something that scares you every day!"; "The journey in between what you once were and who you are becoming is where the dance of life really takes place". At age 62 I find myself fighting inoperable uterine Cancer and thanks to the man upstairs and the prayers from so many people including many of my readers from AskMarion and JustOneMorePet... I'm beating it. After losing our business because of the economy and factors related to the re-election of President Obama in 2012 followed by 16-mos of job hunting, my architect-trained husband is working as a trucker and has only been home approximately 5-days a month since I was diagnosed, which has made everything more difficult and often lonely... plus funds are tight. Our family medical deductible is 12K per year for two of us; thank you ObamaCare. But thanks to donations from so many of you, we are making ends meet as I go through treatment while taking care of my father-in-law who is suffering from late stage Alzheimer's and my mother-in-law who suffers from RA and onset dementia as well as hearing loss, for which there are no caretaker funds, as I continue the fight here online to inform and help restore our amazing country. And finally I need to thank a core group of family, friends, and readers... all at a distance, who check in with me regularly. Plus, I must thank my furkids who have not left my side through this fight. You can see them at JustOneMorePet.
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