Honor­ing the hand that rocks the cra­dle

The Enterprise - - Community Forum -

On Sun­day, as we do ev­ery year, fam­i­lies in St. Mary’s County will join the rest of the na­tion in cel­e­brat­ing their moth­ers.

Mother’s Day is pretty typ­i­cal across many house­holds: The day of­ten starts with break­fast in bed for mom, or maybe a fam­ily brunch, fol­lowed by gift giv­ing — which runs the gamut from spa cer­tifi­cates to “World’s Best Mom” T-shirts, to hand­made coupons that al­low mom to get out of do­ing some house­work for the day. For adults whose moth­ers no longer live close by, it might in­volve a phone call or, these days, a video chat, or maybe even a three-day week­end with a fam­ily trip.

And for oth­ers, it might in­volve a trip to a lo­cal ceme­tery and a prayer of re­mem­brance.

All of these are ex­cel­lent ways to honor or pay trib­ute to our moth­ers. But for those who plan to take the route of win­ing and din­ing their fam­ily ma­tri­archs this week­end, don’t let the gifts steal too much of the spot­light. Re­mem­ber the ori­gins of Mother’s Day and for whom this day is meant.

In fact, it was the com­mer­cial­iza­tion of Mother’s Day that ini­tially caused some con­tro­versy around the hol­i­day in its early years. His­tor­i­cal sources gen­er­ally credit Anna Jarvis with found­ing the trib­ute day, af­ter she cam­paigned for it fol­low­ing the death of her own mother. Pres­i­dent Woodrow Wil­son pro­claimed the sec­ond Sun­day in May as Mother’s Day in 1914.

But flower, candy and card com­pa­nies as well as char­i­ta­ble groups quickly seized the day as an op­por­tu­nity to reel in funds, and Jarvis, an­gered by this, ac­tu­ally spent the rest of her life try­ing to abol­ish the hol­i­day she’d cre­ated, or at the very least, re­store it to its orig­i­nal non-com­mer­cial­ized roots.

“To have Mother’s Day the bur­den­some, waste­ful, ex­pen­sive gift day that Christ­mas and other spe­cial days have be­come, is not our plea­sure,” Jarvis wrote in the 1920s, ac­cord­ing to Na­tional Ge­o­graphic. “If the Amer­i­can peo­ple are not will­ing to pro­tect Mother’s Day from the hordes of money schemers that would over­whelm it with their schemes, then we shall cease hav­ing” the hol­i­day.

For Jarvis, Mother’s Day was a day set aside to visit with and thank our moth­ers. And to her credit, it still is, even if com­mer­cial­iza­tion of the spe­cial day was in­evitable in our con­sumer-driven econ­omy. This year, the Na­tional Re­tail Fed­er­a­tion es­ti­mates Mother’s Day spend­ing in the United States will reach $23.1 bil­lion, wi00th 86 per­cent of Amer­i­cans par­tic­i­pat­ing in the cel­e­bra­tion and dol­ing out an av­er­age of $180 each.

It may seem ex­treme to some, but we could also look at it as a tes­ta­ment to how ea­ger peo­ple are to find some tan­gi­ble way — that is, with a price tag — to show their moth­ers how much they mean to them and how grate­ful they are for all they’ve done for them.

And cer­tainly, it’s a huge booster day for the na­tion’s econ­omy and, we hope, for our lo­cal small busi­ness own­ers as well.

So by all means, shower Mom with gifts and treats this Sun­day. But don’t for­get to take the time to re­ally talk with her and spend time with her, and show her your ap­pre­ci­a­tion is from the heart and gen­uine.

That’s our mes­sage to all the sons and daugh­ters out there. And to all the moth­ers who’ve raised them, we rec­og­nize it’s of­ten a dif­fi­cult, ex­haust­ing and thank­less job, and we thank you for self­lessly do­ing it any­way. En­joy this day set aside strictly for you, and es­pe­cially en­joy the love — and gen­eros­ity — that comes with it.

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