Did you know Mother’s Day was originally intended to celebrate just one person – hence the apostrophe after the “r”? In 1905, Anna Jarvis wanted to commemorate her own mother, who died that year. Mama Jarvis, or Anna Reeves Jarvis, took care of injured soldiers during the Civil War – on both sides of the line. After the war ended, she organized a “Mothers’ Friendship Day,” which worked at bringing together and healing the rift between former Confederate and Union soldiers by having them get together – with their mothers.
The daughter campaigned to have the day officially recognized. In 1908, she held a public memorial for Mama Jarvis in Grafton, West Virginia. It was the first big celebration for Mother’s Day. The idea gained momentum, and, in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson made the second Sunday of May the official celebration of Mother’s Day.
This year, mothers around the world will be spending the day alone, locked down as we are, due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Others will be surrounded by their kids who have been home from school for the past couple of months, and many more moms will be struggling to find a way to put food on the table after months without work. And then there are those moms considered essential employees, working on the “front lines.” Some mothers are in lockdown at care facilities, only allowed to wave at their children through an impersonal glass door barrier.
Despite the Coronavirus, this Mother’s Day shouldn’t be swamped in sadness. Mothers across the nation and the world are doing everything they can to keep their families safe and cared for, during the pandemic. This day, let us celebrate the courageous moms – like Mama Jarvis – who have changed our way of life for the better.
Happy Mother’s Day!