published: Friday, May 10, 2013
Mothers just want children to do their best
In the early 1900's Anna Jarvis accomplished something that, today, might be considered quite a feat. She brought both sides of the Congressional aisle together with the signing of a joint resolution.
It began when she promised to do whatever she could to establish a special day honoring mothers. To that end, she and others who felt the same began a letter-writing campaign aimed at anyone in a position to help. Hundreds of letters went out and she spoke from any platform that was available.
By 1909 those efforts paid off and 45 states were observing a special day honoring mothers with public tributes. Included in that, a tradition of wearing carnations began - white to honor a deceased mother and red to honor a living one.
Eventually her efforts reached high political places. President Woodrow Wilson joined in with his request asking Americans to give a "thank you" to all mothers. And our political leaders signed that joint resolution "recommending that Congress and the executive departments of the government observe Mother's Day." And so it was that 99 years ago, the first American Mother's Day was celebrated.
It's a pretty safe bet this celebration has changed a lot over the decades. I don't suppose there are many surrey-with-the-fringe-on-top rides these days or fried chicken picnics with linen tablecloths spread across fresh spring grass. And since it's also a safe bet I won't be here 99 years from now, I thought, for posterity, I'd share some of the smiles my friends have enjoyed on their recent Mother's Days.
Marsha has an 8- and a 10-year-old. They decided to make breakfast in bed for her last year. So what if the toast was charbroiled and the eggs rubbery? She even endured the dark liquid in the theme park mug, which was made with hot tap water because her kids know of no greater wrath than hers if they dare to touch the stove. And the finishing touch? All was served on a tray boasting a bud vase filled with dollar weed straight from their front lawn. But true to motherhood, Marsha ooh-ed and ahh-ed over every munchy morsel and unsavory sip.
Sari's daughter took advantage of her home economics class by sewing a blouse for her mom and earning academic credit at the same time. Granted, the blouse had double the amount of buttons needed, meaning Sari had to allow an extra 10 minutes to get dressed. And truth be told, the overly bright zoo pattern didn't exactly blend with anything in Sari's closet. But her ooh's and aah's were just as sincere.
All Wendy wanted was a quiet day with no household chores. Her daughter knows her well so was happy to accommodate. She decided last Mother's Day was the perfect time to do a load of laundry on her own - for the first time. When she announced with a Cheshire grin that she'd just started a load of dark clothes in hot water, her close-to-manic mother bounced out of bed and down the stairs, tripped over the dog, pounded the stop knob on the machine, wrung out each piece of clothing, then reset the machine for a cold cycle and started it all over. Not one word of criticism left her lips during the interruption as she hustled right back upstairs and slid under the still-warm covers.
My friend Janice said her son surprised her by detailing her car one Mother's Day afternoon. Now that's my kind of gift. And what a perfect gift it was since he borrowed said car that morning, returning hours later from the beach. Hmm, sand-filled shoes? Wet towels? Well, you get the picture.
On to quiet, easy-going Caren. "A family bike ride followed by a swim would be perfect, thank you very much," she said. "And later, some wings on the grill." Just a quiet day with her husband and son, who even gave up watching his favorite baseball team on TV. Well, OK, when he snuck inside to catch an inning or two Caren looked the other way, sighing and smiling as moms often do.
Now, it isn't difficult to see that caring came through in the coffee and consideration in the car wash. Love left its mark in the laundry while appreciation anchored itself in the almost-abandoned baseball game. As moms we plant those seeds, along with kindness, fairness, patience and more. We nurture them with a hope they'll take firm and permanent root in our offspring. So how better to spend Mother's Day - and every day - than to watch these traits flourish in our children?
What is it moms want on Mother's Day - and every day? It's to see their children do their best so they can be their best. That's what Mothers really want.
Millie Richmond is a Sebring resident. Guest columns are the opinion of the writer, not necessarily those of the News-Sun staff.
(by: Blindman~ - 5/10/2013)
Nobody loves you like your mother!
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