OPINION: On Mother's Day, a visit or call beats cards & flowers

·3 min read

May 9—It's been 15 years since I last got to celebrate Mother's Day with my Mom.

As I am sure is true for many of you, Mother's Day is always bittersweet without Mom. Mine died in 2006 and my wife Mary's passed in 2010. Two good friends have lost their mothers in the past month or so. For them and others, I'm sure today will be difficult. I hope they can find solace and some joy in great memories.

My mom was the foundation of so much of who I became. Among many other things, she was the first person to ever encourage me to write. Her love for and commitment to her family left us all so much the better.

Not having our moms to call or visit or send cards to each second Sunday of May is just one of the zillion reasons we miss them both so much.

The foundation those two wonderful women provided continues to grow. We have been blessed with five grandchildren — so far — and our youngest daughter Megan is about to be married later this month after two disappointing COVID-forced postponements.

If your mother is still with you, I hope you'll call or visit her. We sure wish we could do so with ours.

This is also a great day to salute and be in touch with the moms in our circles of family and friends. Now that we've gotten both shots of one of the COVID-19 vaccines and are beyond the two-week aftermath needed to be considered fully vaccinated, we've been able to see all five grandchildren and their moms since early April.

It's been beyond gratifying to see our grown children stepping up to be great, loving moms — and dads.

Of course the most remarkable mom in my life these days is Mary, who was and still is always there for our four, now-adult kids and all of the grandchildren. We'll be celebrating her and our daughter Katie as great moms today.

By the way, did you know that Mother's Day in America originated right here in the commonwealth? (And no, it wasn't a marketing idea from a Hallmark executive.)

According to a piece I found on the Encyclopedia Britannica website — I feel old, but oddly comforted using an encyclopedia as a source — while festivals honoring mothers and mother goddesses dated back to ancient times, in our nation it was originated by a woman named Anna Jarvis of Philadelphia, "whose mother had organized women's groups to promote friendship and health."

On May 12, 1907, that article continued, Jarvis held a memorial service at her late mother's church in West Virginia. "Within five years virtually every state was observing the day, and in 1914 U.S. Pres. Woodrow Wilson made it a national holiday."

Over time, Mother's Day has expanded to include others, such as grandmothers and aunts, who have played mothering roles. That's appropriate.

Here's one further interesting note from that article. Apparently, as the day increasingly became associated with the sending of cards and the giving of gifts, Jarvis, in protest against its commercialization, "spent the last years of her life trying to abolish the holiday she had brought into being."

I don't know if I agree with that, but I think a phone call or a visit beats the heck out of a card or flowers.

Happy Mother's Day to all who have played that role in our lives, one way or another.

Email comments to dlyons@dailyitem.com.

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