Mother's Day

May 5, 2008

by Jenni Sebora

“Thanks Mom for everything you do,” my eight-year old daughter said to me the other day during our morning rush of getting ready for school and the day. She then gave me the bear hug that leaves you breathless both literally and emotionally.

Those words of profound appreciation from child to mother stopped me in my tracks and brought tears to my eyes. She often gives hugs and each day tells us, my husband and I, how much she loves us, but those simple yet unsolicited words of “thank you” from my daughter’s mouth and heart rang so loud and clear.

In some sense, my daughter realized what we as parents, me as a mother, do and feel for our children. The completeness of love that one person feels for another is revealed in the relationship of mother to child.

The love a mother feels for her child can not truly be expressed in words. It can only be felt. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the national recognition of Mother’s Day. Certainly the importance of mothers has well been recognized longer than that though.

In the Bible the book of Genesis (3:20) tells us Adam named his wife Eve because she would become the mother of all the living.

John 19:26-27 – When Jesus saw His mother there, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother. “From that time, on this disciple took her into his home.”

Abraham Lincoln said, “All that I am or hope to be, I owe to my mother.”

And Charles Chaplin noted, “It seems to be that my mother was the most splendid woman I ever knew. . . I have met a lot of people knocking around the world since, but I have never met a more thoroughly refined woman than my mother. If I have amounted to anything, it will be due to her.”

In the United States Mother’s Day was initially suggested by Julia Ward Howe in 1872 actually as a day dedicated to peace. Anna Jarvis was also another individual who devoted her efforts to establish a national Mother’s Day celebration.

On May 10, 1908 the first official Mother’s Day was celebrated at St. Andrew’s Methodist Church where Ward’s mother had taught.

Another Mother’s Day celebration was held in Philadelphia where Jarvis resided. By 1911 Mother’s Day was celebrated in almost every state.

In 1914, President Woodrew Wilson declared Mother’s Day as a national holiday to be celebrated on the second Sunday of May.

Sometimes it takes our children until they are grown to realize the capacity of a mother’s love – and for them to realize that a mother does “know best.”

Maybe a child will never fully realize the vastness and entirety of a parent’s love until he or she is grown and too becomes a parent.

A mother is one of the most difficult jobs of all but the most rewarding. The benefits of motherhood are reaped each moment we guide and love and support and hope for our children. As heart wrenching yet as wonderful as it is, motherhood’s benefits are most reaped when our children are ready to soar on their own planted in the roots which we have helped them sow.

As Cecilia Lasbury put it, “There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots; the other, wings.”

So, as I, too, hold the roles of both a daughter and a mother, I do now realize the extent of my mother’s love for me. To my mother I extend her the words of heartfelt appreciation, “Mom thank you for everything you have done for me.” These words certainly can never be enough for the sacrifices and unconditional love she has given to me and my siblings. I thank her for teaching me about a mother’s love.

To my children I can only say what words allow me to express and those are how grateful I am that I am their mother and how nothing will ever be more important than they are to me. I am their mother.

Happy Mother’s Day. May each mother, grandmother, aunt, caregiver. . . know that you are loved and appreciated and may you all receive a “bear” hug that leaves you breathless – both literally and emotionally.