As I was driving to attend the Mother’s Day mass at my Ukrainian church this morning, I listened to a talk show about how Mother’s Day originated.
Anna Jarvis, an American, had wanted to honour her own mother and has been credited as its founder. At her mother’s graveside in 1905, Anna was overheard saying that “all mothers need a day of rest”. She believed that mothers were “the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world”. (Engaging Families 2015 Special Editions-Mother’s Day)
The first official Mother’s Day was celebrated in 1908.
As I drove along I continued to listen…
Over the years, Anna Jarvis had become resentful that the holiday had become commercialized. She believed that many companies had started exploiting the idea of Mother’s Day. She had intended the holiday to be a sentimental time to express love and gratitude, not a for-profit day.
During the mass this morning, I found my mind wandering a bit (sorry, Father) and thought more about what I had heard on the car radio. It really was so; Mother’s Day has become very commercialized. There are massive sales of greeting cards and there are all sorts of advertisements about where to buy the best flowers, boxes of delicious chocolates or even diamonds and other jewellery for mom. Not what Anna Jarvis intended I’m sure.
As the choir today sang Ava Maria, I got all choked up and my memories flooded back to 1963. It is a memory of a special time I spent with my mom on that particular Mother’s Day.
We were in our village church. It was hot and stuffy inside, but cold and windy outside of the church. The smoke from the censer was making my eyes burn and the priest’s words droned on, and were almost putting me to sleep.
“When is it over, mom?” I asked anxiously
“Sh, soon. Here. “, she said.
Mom handed me a soda cracker. I happily accepted it because it was perfect for me to break into smaller pieces and eat slowly. It wasn’t noisy to munch on and somehow, the time just seemed to pass so much more quickly. I recall looking up at my mom and she looked back down at me and gave me her knowing smile. I smiled back.
My mom was so wonderful, so kind and as I beamed back at her, some of the cracker crumbs fell out of my mouth onto the floor. Oh, no! I looked around hoping that no one saw. I was horrified that Father was going to find out that it was me who had dirtied the church floor. Tears stung my eyes. My mom calmly took out a kleenex and wiped my eyes.
At the end of mass, Father blessed and handed out carnations to all of the mothers. My mom winked at me and gave me the carnation to carry home. No one ever said anything about the crumbs.
Did you know that a carnation is very much like a mother’s love?
A carnation does not drop its petals, but hugs them to its heart as it dies. So, too, mothers hug their children to their hearts, their mother love never-dying. — Anna Jarvis
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