We’ve all got one somewhere. Whether they are with us in person, living right down the street or in the apartment downstairs; in spirit, calling to check up on us from the other side of the state or country; or in memory, perhaps smiling down on us from a well-deserved peaceful afterlife — we all have a mother.
Mothers come in many shapes and sizes, often wear many hats and go by many names, the most heralded of which is “Mom.” Some of these beloved moms have sacrificed much, cutting a career path short to stay home and raise their family. These are loving and devoted women, and their hard work day in and day out isn’t always acknowledged.
Then there are stepmoms, adoptive moms, foster moms and other dearly loved legal guardians who stepped into their mom shoes by less traditional means.
Moms are all around us, striving to raise more decent human beings in this world, generally without receiving much due credit or appreciation.
So let’s especially acknowledge and laud all of these women.
Make plans to spend this Sunday with your mother. Or, if she has already passed on, set aside some time to remember happy times shared together or lasting words of advice and encouragement she gave you. Then, honor her memory by thanking another mom you know, be it your wife, aunt or other female relative or friend who’s put in the time helping to bring up a child or two — or seven.
If your mom’s not right here in the area, a simple phone call (not a text or email) to let her know you’re thinking of her on her special day can go a long way to brightening up her weekend.
All of these are excellent ways to honor or pay tribute to our mothers. But for those who plan to take the route of wining and dining their family matriarchs this weekend, don’t let the gifts steal too much of the spotlight.
In fact, it was the commercialization of Mother’s Day that initially caused some controversy around the holiday in its early years.
Historical sources generally credit Anna Jarvis with founding the tribute day, after she campaigned for it following the death of her own mother. President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day in 1914.
But flower, candy and card companies as well as charitable groups quickly seized the day as an opportunity to reel in funds. Jarvis, angered by this, actually spent the rest of her life trying to abolish the holiday she’d created, or at the very least, restore it to its original non-commercialized roots.
For Jarvis, Mother’s Day was a day set aside to visit with and thank our mothers. And to her credit, it still is, even if commercialization of the special day was inevitable in our consumer-driven economy. This year, the National Retail Federation estimates Mother’s Day spending in the United States will reach $25 billion, with 86% of Americans participating in the celebration and doling out an average of $180 each.
That outlay may seem extreme to some, but we could also look at it as a testament to how eager people are to find some tangible way — that is, with a price tag — to show their mothers how much they mean to them and how grateful they are for all they’ve done for them.
And certainly, it’s a huge booster day for the nation’s economy and, we hope, for our local small business owners as well.
So by all means, shower your mom with gifts and treats this Sunday. But don’t forget to take the time to really talk with her and spend time with her, and show her your appreciation is genuine, and from the heart.