As I write this, Mothers Day 2014 has come and gone, leaving behind sweet thoughts of remembering Mom, and being remembered as Mom. But like many traditions we take for granted, we may not be celebrating Mother’s Day as it was originally intended.
The origins of Mother’s Day are attributed to two women, Julia Ward Howe and Anna Jarvis. In 1868, Ann Jarvis, mother of Anna Jarvis, created a committee to reunite families divided during the Civil War. Her efforts to expand this as an annual memorial for mothers was continued by her daughter Anna after Ann’s death in 1905.
In 1872 in New York, the connection between mothers and war continued. Julia Ward Howe led a “Mothers Day for Peace” anti-war observance and published a Mother’s Day Proclamation, but the celebratory day was only observed for about 10 years in Boston, then died out. So much for celebrating peace.
Several years later, on May 13, 1877, a Mother’s Day observance was held in Albion, Michigan to bring attention to a dispute related to the temperance movement, but it was Ann Jarvis, who on May 9, 1905 solicited the help of a Philadelphia merchant to hold a service to honor her mother. The idea caught on in New York, and by 1913, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation declaring the first national Mother’s Day as a day for Americans to fly the flag in honor of those mothers whose sons had died in war. Nowadays, more of us seem to be waving our credit cards than our flags on Mother’s Day, but our hearts are in the right place.
My own mother has been wonderfully influential in my life. A few years ago my mother needed help with her finances, and I was “too busy” to help. But her need inspired me to find a solution, which as it turned out, helped me realize that my concerns about my mother being victimized by elder fraud, or confused by bill payments and insurance forms were issues shared by other children of aging parents. So I set about getting certified to be a daily money management specialist for the elderly, and founded DL MoneyMatters. My work honors not only my Mom but all seniors, and makes life a lot less stressful for many of our clients. Thanks, Mom!