bouquets, and bling on Mother's Day are nice, but "Please don't
buy me anything," is my anti-rallying cry. However, TV commercials
always win out, and, consequently, closets of unworn bathrobes grow
fuller every year.
In an effort
to dissuade my kids from commercialism ("How about just writing
me a mushy note" falls on deaf ears), I sought facts to combat their
Mother's Day actually started in the 1850s when a West Virginia
woman, Ann Marie Reeves Jarvis, recruited mothers to help combat
tuberculosis and other diseases, which then, in 1861, segued into
helping both Union and Confederate soldiers, injured or ill, during
the Civil War. That became women taking active political roles in
promoting peace. True bipartisanship. It was her daughter, Anna
Jarvis, who got Woodrow Wilson to make Mother's Day a national holiday
in 1908. Is it an accidental irony that Wilson proclaimed Sundays
for this holiday? But never mind that. It didn't take very long
to become commercialized; last year, Americans spent $20 Billion
on Mother's Day gifts, according to the National Retail Federation.
A far cry from the selfless work of Mrs. Jarvis, and the recognition
sought for her by her daughter, Ms. Jarvis.