Mothers Day Reminder

by : Ernie Zelinski

Anna May Jarvis - Mothers Day Image
Photo of Anna May Jarvis - Founder of Mother's Day

As much as I loved my mother Violet Zelinski, it will come as a surprise to some people that over the years I didn't buy her Mother's Day flowers, Mother's Day cards, or Mother's Day candy for Mother's Day. I did buy her dinner, however, and spent quality time with her every Mother's Day. Perhaps you should do likewise every Mother's Day.

Truth be known, you don't have to feel guilty about not buying Mother's Day gifts, Mother's Day flowers, or Mother's Day cards to help your mother celebrate Mother's Day. Not buying your mother cards, flowers, or candy to help her celebrate this special event is not about being stingy and saving yourself a few bucks, however. There is a much better reason. We have to go back to the origins of Mother's Day to place this in proper perspective.

Anna May Jarvis was just two weeks shy of forty-two, working for a life insurance company in Philadelphia, when her mother (Mrs. Anna Reese Jarvis) died on May 9, 1905. It was the second Sunday of the month. The next year Anna May Jarvis made her life goal to see her mother and motherhood honored annually throughout the world. Jarvis felt children often neglected to appreciate their mother enough while she was still alive. She hoped Mother's Day would increase respect for parents and strengthen family bonds.

Two years after her mother's death, Anna Jarvis and her friends began a letter-writing campaign to gain the support of influential ministers, businessmen, and congressmen in declaring a national Mother's Day holiday. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation from the U.S. Congress to establish the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day forevermore.

Ironically, the commercialization of the day she had founded in honor of motherhood - today it is the biggest business day of the year for U.S. restaurants and flower shops - was not what Anna May Jarvis had envisioned. Jarvis wanted people to spend a lot of quality time with their mothers and let their mothers know how special they were.

Sadly, Jarvis, who never married and was never a mother herself, retired from her job at the insurance company to spend her remaining thirty-four years, and her entire fortune of over $100,000, campaigning against the commercialization of Mother's Day.

Whenever she could, Anna May Jarvis would speak out. She was known to crash florists' conventions to express her distaste for their "profiteering" from Mother's Day. Eventually too old to continue her campaign, she ended up deaf and blind - not to mention penniless - in a West Chester, Pennsylvania, sanitarium, where she died in November 1948 at the age of eighty-four.

"Why not give your mother Mother's Day flowers, Mother's Day cards, or Mother's Day candy?" you may ask. "Flowers," declared Jarvis, "are about half dead by the time they're delivered." As for candy, Jarvis advised, "Mother's Day has nothing to do with candy. Candy is junk. You give your mother a box of candy and then go home and eat most of it yourself."

"Then what's wrong with Mother's Day cards?" you may add. Jarvis felt that "a maudlin, insincere printed card or a ready-made telegram means nothing except that you're too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone else in the world."

Tell your mother the truth about Mother's Day and you won't have to spend money on Mother's Day flowers, Mother's Day candy, or Mother's Day cards to help her celebrate her special event of the year. Heck, you don't even have to buy her a copy of one of my books as a Mother's Day gift. You should, however, make her a special gourmet dinner or take her out to a fine restaurant. Don't cheap out!

Most important, you should spend a lot of quality time with your mother on Mother's Day. She will appreciate this immensely. What's more, if she were still living today, Anna May Jarvis would be so pleased that you celebrate the second Sunday of May with your mother in the essence and the true spirit of Mother's Day!

NOTE: The above article is adapted from the chapter called Flowers, Cards, and Candy Are Not the Essence of Mother's Day! in the book 101 Really Important Things You Already Know, But Keep Forgetting by Ernie Zelinski. The book is dedicated to Ernie's mother Violet Zelinski (Waselyna Gordychuk) who passed away while Ernie was writing the latest edition of the book.

    #1 of Top-Ten Quotes about Moms and Mothers for Mother's Day

    Hundreds of dewdrops to greet the dawn,
    Hundreds of bees in the purple clover,
    Hundreds of butterflies on the lawn,
    But only one mother the wide world over.
    - George Cooper

    #2 Quote about Moms and Mothers for Mother's Day

    A mother's happiness is like a beacon, lighting up the future but reflected also on the past in the guise of fond memories.
    - Honore de Balzac

    #3 Quote about Moms and Mothers for Mother's Day

    A father may turn his back on his child, brothers and sisters may become inveterate enemies, husbands may desert their wives, wives their husbands. But a mother's love endures through all.
    - Washington Irving

    #4 Quote about Moms and Mothers for Mother's Day

    My mother is a poem
    I'll never be able to write,
    though everything I write
    is a poem to my mother.
    - Sharon Doubiago

    #5 Quote about Moms and Mothers for Mother's Day

    One good mother is worth a hundred schoolmasters.
    - George Herbert

    #6 Quote about Moms and Mothers for Mother's Day

    There's nothing like a mama-hug.
    - Adabella Radici

    #7 Quote about Moms and Mothers for Mother's Day

    Who ran to help me when I fell,
    And would some pretty story tell,
    Or kiss the place to make it well?
    My mother.
    - Ann Taylor

    #8 Quote about Moms and Mothers for Mother's Day

    Mother - that was the bank where we deposited all our hurts and worries.
    - T. DeWitt Talmage

    #9 Quote about Moms and Mothers for Mother's Day

    Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children.
    - William Makepeace Thackeray

    #10 Quote about Moms and Mothers for Mother's Day

    I miss thee, my Mother! Thy image is still
    The deepest impressed on my heart.
    - Eliza Cook