I don’t remember making a big deal out of Mother’s Day as I child. I think we all went out to eat after church. At least that would make sense to me since Mom always cooked, but I can’t imagine either of my parents waiting for an hour for a meal at a crowded restaurant.

I’m sure there were a string of homemade cards with the accompanying homemade verse. There might have been breakfast in bed a time or two, although Mom always seemed to be up before us. I imagine there may have been some offerings of wadded violets or dandelions as well.

In my husband’s family, all the ladies wear orchids to church on Mother’s Day. I felt a little silly the first time, sporting one as a very unmotherly college student, but I felt a little special, too.

On Mother’s Day, my home church gives out carnations to all the women. I thought it was merely an inexpensive choice, but it turns out carnations are traditional representations of Mother’s Day. It was the favorite flower of Ann Marie Jarvis, whose passing inspired her daughter Anna to give children an occasion to appreciate their mothers while they were alive.

On May 9th, 1914, on the nine year anniversary of Ann Marie Jarvis’ death, President Woodrow Wilson declared the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

Mother’s Day always takes on a new significance when you actually become a mother. For me it was on May 13th, 2001. I was the associate pastor of a church, and proud mother of a 5-month old girl. I was humbled to be honored among such an indescribable group of women.

I am a little more ambivalent about the celebration today. I’m not of the theory that my co-worker espouses, that her children had better get her a gift of value, or else. I love the homemade cards and gifts my children shower me with. I just don’t know that I’ve done anything to deserve special treatment.

I’m just a mom. I’ve answered my children’s calls since their little lungs were able to fill with air. At all times of the night, for all kinds of reasons, I’ve tried to be there for them. I’ve tried to provide healthy food, clean clothes, and a fun home environment. I’ve tried to answer every “what’s that?” and “why” along the way. I’ve tried to share every value I hold deeply, from loving God, to compassion for others, to creative thinking.

On the other hand, I’ve had to tell them “no” more times than I could possibly count. I’ve had to let them make their own choices in clothing and activities, even when I’ve disagreed. I’ve had to allow them to do things for themselves when my way is much more efficient. I’ve had to let them grow into their own as separate individuals, even when that means leaving me behind.

The path of momdom I will travel has just begun. I have miles to go yet. I pray for the wisdom of God and of all my female relatives before me. I pray that a simple token for my mother will communicate how much I love and appreciate her. God knows she deserves it.

Source for history:


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