We get to celebrate and let our mothers know how much they mean to us.
The extremely interesting story of Anna Jarvis, born on May 1, 1864, in Webster, West Virginia, is one for the record books for sure. She watched her mother, Ann Jarvis, strive and work for a United States holiday to honor mothers during the Civil War. While some limited success was gained, she was unable to totally succeed in establishing our country’s version of a holiday to honor mothers.
Anna recalled hearing her mother pray for a memorial day for mothers. Then her mother died in 1905. After two years passed, Jarvis held a memorial at the church that her family attended to honor her mother and her good deeds. The following year she held another service. This time she gave away carnations, as they were her mother’s favorite flower. She came up with the idea for red or pink for living mothers and white for those whose mother had already passed away.
She wanted all to attend church and afterward for children to spend some time writing their mothers a note to express their appreciation. West Virginia became the first state to adopt the holiday, in 1910. Then, after much devotion and work to her cause, Jarvis began to raise even more awareness and support. Then 100 years ago in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson declared the second Sunday in May “Mother’s Day.” But this is not where the story ends!
By the early 1920s, florists began heavily marketing carnations, and greeting card companies began to sell Mother’s Day cards. Jarvis hated this, as her intention was for children to write handwritten, personal notes to their mothers.
After spending the majority of her younger years helping to establish the holiday, she spent the rest of her life trying to end Mother’s Day. She even turned against the commercialization of the idea she helped create and was arrested for protesting at a Mother’s Day carnation sale. She and her sister Ellsinore spent their family inheritance campaigning against what the holiday had become. Both died in poverty. According to her obituary from the New York Times, Jarvis became embittered because too many people sent their mothers a printed greeting card.
She is quoted as saying: “A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world. And candy! You take a box to mother — and then eat most of it yourself.”
She left this world on Nov. 24, 1948, in West Chester, Pennsylvania.
This weekend, if your mother is anywhere close, please take the time to drop by, or call her, write her a note, send an email, Skype, text, tweet or, yes, even send her a card. Please take the time to let her KNOW how you feel and that she was, is and forever will be appreciated. There will come a day when this is not possible anymore. Trust me, you want your mom to know she is loved!
Each Mother’s Day, I fondly remember my own mother who left behind a legacy of love, godly character and integrity that will influence the Davis family for generations. There are many things I miss about her and I am grateful that in a world of abused and abandoned children, I had a mother who loved me, nurtured me and taught me right from wrong.
I miss her friendship, her strength, her humor and her love for my children. Through her example, I learned what a dedicated parent and friend looked like. As writer Tenneva Jordan described his mom, “She was the type of person who, seeing there were only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announced she never did care for pie.”
I believe that most mothers will tell you what they want most is a little bit of your time; time to just sit and talk and to laugh over childhood memories. I only wish I still could.
Join with me on Mother’s Day in thanking God for those gracious ladies whose influence is immeasurable and whose value to her children, to her husband and to her community cannot be calculated.
To all moms in our community … as mayor I appreciate each of you and your contribution to Bradley County’s quality of life. You hold the most precious title of all: Mother!