Thursday, May 6, 2021

The Lessons, Love, and Joy of Mother's Day

In 1914 the second Sunday of May was proclaimed as Mother's Day by President Woodrow Wilson. It was to be a day of "public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country". But it did not become a commercial celebration until the early 1920's when the Hallmark Card Company began creating and producing Mother's Day cards. So now you know the rest of the story. 

As a little girl, my father would have corsages sent to my mother and me to wear to church as celebrations of this day. He and my brother would also sport boutonnieres in their lapels. All of red flowers, indicating our mothers were alive. After my paternal grandmother passed away, my father's boutonniere was white, indicating his mother was no longer with us. Memories of these flowers come to mind when I remember Mother's Days of my youth.

Years later (many years ago) as a new mother, I often found my Mother's Day celebrations caught up in those of my mother and mother-in-law. Don't get me wrong, they deserved the honor and praise of the day. The family may have gone to a restaurant, a picnic at the family pond, or our home for lunch. Anyone who knows me, is aware of my love of cooking and entertaining, so the later was neither a bother nor a burden. 

However, I remember asking myself, "I'm a mother, why are our Mother's Day celebrations always around what others want to do?" Ah, the ignorance and egocentric feelings of youth. 

It wasn't as if my husband and children did not honor me as their wife and mother. There were always very thoughtful (and generous) gifts of flowers, jewelry, or perfume. Naturally the most precious were those cards and other crafts carefully made by my daughters. One that comes to mind was a "Snow Globe" constructed of an upside down baby food jar full of water, glitter, and a plastic flower. I knew it had very carefully been crafted with love and pride. Even these many (many) years later, I still have a few of these very special cards and gifts.

As time moved on my mother-in-law passed away followed several years later by the premature death of my mother. My granddaughters were born and I found myself "Matriarch" of the family. 

But there is an emptiness. As much as I enjoy the day with my family, I find there is a feeling of loss. Memories of my mother and mother-in-law are always on my mind. Not only do I dearly miss them, especially on this special day, I often think of the lessons of motherhood I learned from them. 

But then that loss is tempered by the pride I have watching my older daughter as an exceptional person and mother and my youngest as a wonderful young lady.  Memories of those Mother's Days as a young mother make me appreciate my daughters and granddaughters even more. 

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