Mom’s Big Day

Posted on 05.09.13 – People & Places

Mom's Big Day

Mothers have all sorts of attributes, whether it’s reading Good-Night Moon like it was the first, not the 100th time, knowing when to give up on the notion that plead as she might, the lima beans will not get eaten, or resisting the urge to jump in and settle the score in a playground argument involving her kids. But perhaps the trait that serves moms best is a sense of humor—especially on Mother’s Day, which this year falls on May 12.

Moms in the U.S. were singled out for a holiday starting in 1872 with Julia Ward Howe, of The Battle Hymn of the Republic fame, suggesting June 2 be set aside to fete mothers.

For it is on this holiday that she must grin and bear the breakfast in bed, complete with its burnt toast and runny eggs, plus a kitchen that looks like a war zone. She will chuckle at the wilted bouquet of weeds picked by tiny hands in the backyard, or the macaroni art project. She will say that the waffle iron, no doubt bought by her husband, is just what she wanted.

Although not on the same date, Mother’s Day is celebrated in 46 countries and has its roots in ancient Greek and Roman spring festivals. In England, the fourth Sunday in Lent is celebrated as Mothering Sunday. Moms in the United States were singled out for a holiday starting in 1872 with Julia Ward Howe, of Battle Hymn of the Republic fame, suggesting June 2 be set aside to fete mothers.

Another pioneer for the holiday was Anna Jarvis, who never married and was not a mother, but was a loving daughter who pushed for a special day after the death of her mother in 1905. By 1911, Mother’s Day was celebrated in nearly every state and on May 8, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a joint resolution making the second Sunday in May the day for cards, flowers and long distance phone calls to mom.