This Sunday, as is tradition in the United States on the second Sunday in May, children will celebrate their mothers with cards and flowers and drugstore chocolates—the single day of the year when mothers are supposed to be pampered and recognized for all that they do.
For many of us, the commercialism that has become the "holiday" that is essentially about respecting your mother seems more than a little absurd. If you're in this camp—offended by the price of carnations in May, repelled by a mimosa brunch, and someone who believes that mothers (and fathers...and all the people you love, for that matter) should be appreciated on more than just one day of the year—you're not alone. Anna Jarvis is with you.
In 1905, the mother of a woman named Anna Jarvis died, and the young Ms. Jarvis decided to create a holiday to remember her mother. As she saw it, her mother had done so much for her, and she wanted to carve out time for all Americans to remember their mothers, even after their mothers were gone. Only 9 years later, in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson declared Mother's Day a national holiday. And, as the story goes, it was all downhill from there.
When some infidels took it upon themselves to add a “happy” to the sentiment—as in “Happy Mother’s Day!”—Miss Jarvis threatened them with legal action. As far as Anna Jarvis was concerned, there was nothing “happy” about what had happened to a day intended for personal remembrance, and so she spent the rest of her life attempting to dismantle the institution she had created.
The true sentiment behind Mother's Day (which is, for the record, "Mother's Day" and not "Mothers' Day") is a good one. It's important to be thankful, to acknowledge the ways that others have helped us throughout our lives, and to mourn the people we've loved who are gone. This is not a call for an Anna Jarvis-style Mother's Day takeover. But it is a reminder that, behind all the commercialism, Mother's Day is a good reminder to appreciate those we love, not just on the second Sunday in May, but everyday.