|All Points West: Here’s to qualified moms everywhere|
|May 06, 2016 Frank Marquez|
To understand the meaning of Mother’s Day as more than just a mere 24 hours to thank the woman who raised you, serving as a primary influence in your life, to make you the person you are today, children of all ages must look back to the day’s origins, and how women were treated and viewed in the early 1900s. They were viewed as limited, perhaps even handicapped, and commonly referred to as the weaker sex.
Sentiment aside, capitalism, or more bluntly, making a buck was huge factor, if not the deciding factor. This could only happen in America, and as if this country needed more holidays. Though marketers and government officials may have missed the mark, it’s not too late to set the record straight.
The day of honor has its seeds in deeds performed by Anna Jarvis’ mother, Ann, who cared for the Civil War’s wounded on both sides. According to mentalfloss.com, Ann tried to organize a gathering between Union and Confederate mothers by forming a Mother’s Friendship Day. Ann died in 1905, and Anna was devastated by her mother’s death. Thus, she pursued an outlet to remember her, and promote a day that would honor all mothers.
On May 10, 1908, the church in Grafton, West Virginia, where Ann taught Sunday school held a mother’s day celebration. Anna did not attend, but instead sent 500 white carnations, her mother’s favorite flower.
Ironically, the holiday eventually came into being in 1914 with the help of wealthy backers John Wanamaker, and H.J. Heinz, and the World’s Sunday School Association, despite opposition by several senators. The florist industry supported Anna’s efforts as well, which gave a boost to the sale of white carnations.
Then, commercial interests took over. Though appalled and angered by what she believed to be the trivialization of such a special day, Anna tried to stop the florists from peddling carnations, and argued against consumers spending their hard-earned wages on canned sentiments, which were printed on greeting cards.
Anna said, “A maudlin, insincere greeting card or ready-made telegram means nothing except that you’re too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone else in the world. Any mother would rather have a line of the worst scribble from her son or daughter than any fancy greeting card.”
Because of Anna’s frustration, she wanted to abolish the day.
If I followed Anna’s idea that buying flowers, cards, and perhaps chocolates seemed out of step with keeping the bonds sacred, I’d simply express how I love my mom, give her a hug, and be on my merry way. Hallmark or See’s Candy wouldn’t see any profit.
Besides, my mom knows how I feel. On the other hand, I’m pretty sure, she’d like to receive at least a bouquet of flowers, any kind of flowers, she could keep in a vase on her dining room table for more than a few days. Though, there’s a lot more I can do on the other 364 days, the small gifts or tokens symbolize so much. Just ask any mom.
So, why the thanks? And, what does it mean these days?
Last week, I wrote this post on social media that I think applies to how modern views contradict this more than a century’s old holiday. The roles of women have changed. Their abilities have been clouded by biology – it’s the old square peg in a round hole. Though the military has welcomed and congratulated its first female infantry commander, she has a mother, and can be a mother. “No duh” right? Don’t hold it against her. There’s also a chance we could have our first mom sitting in the Oval Office, minimally qualified by having exercised her skills as a mother.
Explaining this to a culture that in some instances believes otherwise doesn’t jibe with the changes I’ve seen.
Mothers can have their cake and eat it, too. In other words, like so many other Americans, they can be successful business owners, Miss Americas, astronauts, farmers, and even world leaders.
The post I made, without saying what prompted it for fear it might be politicized, simply said, my mom Lupe Gordon, deserves the honor and recognition for her accomplishment’s as a mother, even more so, as a human being. Yet, who else can be mothers except women? Put it this way, I wouldn’t raise my hand even if I could carry a child.
My mom ran our house. She was the CEO of the Marquez residence in Gering, running this business to best of her ability. She worked early mornings, and late nights, and weekends, raising SIX BOYS, sometimes taking the place of my father who worked long hours to pay the bills. My brothers and I joked about how my mother must have suffered at least a dozen nervous breakdowns. I think, if I may speak for my mom, she’d be just as qualified as any woman, or man, to run for president. I mean to come out on the other end smelling like a carnation?
Mother’s Day has special meaning.
Looking back, there were so many of her actions I took for granted. My brothers and I had food on the table when I was a kid. My shoes were tied. My clothes were washed. She reminded me to wear overshoes when it snowed. Then, she taught me to do all of these things in case I never got married. Mom encouraged me when the world was jagged and seemed to cut my soul. Most importantly, like Anna’s mom, she cared. Because she had these experiences, she loves life.
When I think about it, 500 carnations wouldn’t be enough.
Instead, as a heart-felt thanks in hopefully better than my worst scribble, I can dedicate these few words to her.
I love you, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day!