The Origins of Mother’s Day Relived

Dear Editor:

In the United States, about five years after the end of the Civil War, Mother’s Day began as a call for pacifism and an end to war as a means of settling disputes. Mothers who lost their sons to the battlefield sought to express their anguish and assuage their grief by setting aside a day to promote peace.

During the 20th century, Mother’s Day evolved from a day dedicated to pacifism and reform movements to a general celebration of motherhood. In 1914, then-President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

Gifts are always welcome. Whether it is a bouquet of flowers, a box of candy (preferably chocolate!), dinner or lunch at a nice restaurant, or simply a card, phone call, email or text… the best gift is the gift of time.

For those of you adult sons and daughters out there, go spend some time with your mom. And if she’s far away, send a card, call her, send an email, a text, a tweet… All the moms I know, myself included, value a moment or two spent with adult children who are now so busy, as they should be, with their own lives.

Even if you feel your mom wronged you in some way, perhaps it is a misunderstanding or a breakdown in communication. Or if she made mistakes, as we all do, find it in your heart to try to forgive her. In all likelihood she misses you more than you might imagine. If you are angry with your mom for whatever you feel she may have done, you are hurting and she is hurting, too. A resolution, to some degree, is possible and both of you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

And remember the origins of Mother’s Day. This was not a holiday simply created by the greeting card industry. If you are estranged from your mother, try to realize that moms the world over, by and large, try their very best to be good moms. They may have been distracted at times, or preoccupied with the all the demands of modern life. Parenting is pretty much a “learn as you go” occupation, and on-the-job training is about all most of us get. And children don’t come with instruction manuals.

If your mother hasn’t heard from you for a long time, even years, please make that call or send a card. In all probability this is an action you won’t regret. You can’t go wrong by simply saying “I love you, Mom,” because in my experience the response you will get is, “I love you, too!”

Catherine Mahrholz