Bring it back?! Where did it go?
Where did it go indeed. I was pondering what might be a suitable approach to wishing our readers a Happy Mother’s Day, when I stumbled on an article written by the New York Post (click here for original article). It was an interesting read on the intentions vs reality, private vs public interpretation, and what can happen when we try to correct our best laid plans. Surely lessons a mother would teach.
What do I know about the origins of Mother’s Day? When I sat and thought about it, I had some gross assumptions about how this day became part of the formal holiday line up. In my socially jaded opinion, I figured it was the idea of a bored socialite who essentially wanted their 15mn of “fame” so that they could be congratulated by other mothers for getting their annual 15mn of “fame”, even if it was just by family members. I was just sure it had something to do with obligating anyone who has or had a mother, grandmother, or aunt who stepped in as a mother to go buy flowers and candy while professing gratitude.
I was incredibly happy to be wrong.
The truth is, Mother’s Day was established by Anna Jarvis in honor of her mother. Her mother had spent a good part of her life “…setting up Mother’s Work Clubs across America, which originally served as a place where women were taught how to look after their children, but later served to bind communities together in a post-Civil War world. Jarvis Senior also organized a Mother’s Friendship Day post-war, to try and repair relationships between soldiers and wives on both sides of the war (News.com.au).”
Long after the Civil War has ended, it is amazing to me how relevant it is to bring mothers together and have them impart their wisdom to society. I feel that we are still fighting in wars both literally and socially. We could use a mother’s touch right now. With lack of nurturing wisdom and guidance it is hard to know where to begin to mend relationships back together again. In a digital age much of our indigenous wisdom that has been passed down through storytelling and demonstration as either been lost or so mutated I think we make ache for that maternal healing balm.
I feel that this fundamental spirit of the holiday gets lost in the need to produce a Hallmark sentiment, a perfectly cultivated floral symbol, or some decadent confection (which is laden in calories by the way). I immediately identified with Anna Jarvis when she saw the result of her good intention used as an exploitation of the human experience.
This Mother’s Day wouldn’t it be fun to focus on the motive behind the holiday. Sure, buy your cards n such, but what if we don’t make that the grand gesture. Let’s just think of that as the trim on the real gift. What if the real gift is acknowledging the sacrifices our mother’s have made for us? If we do not understand those sacrifices, ask about them. You will be richer for it. What if the real gift is celebrating the time our mothers took to teach us, to love us in their own expression, and encourage us to cultivate what is best in us.
Spend time, love, and gratitude above all else today. Bring the reason for Mother’s Day back. Time is the most valuable thing we can give because it is the one thing we can never get back. You can’t purchase it from a local vendor and hand it over in an over embellished box. You can, however, present it in the form of you. Just show up.
Cheers and Happy Mother’s Day