Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you that I am the epitome of a “mama’s boy.” I could not be more proud of that fact. Anybody who gives me an opportunity and enough time will hear some amazing tales about how my mother changed my life and made me the man I am today. “My mama said…” this and that comes out of my mouth on a regular basis. Actually, three incredible mothers raised me: my mother, my grandmother and my great grandmother. To me, they are larger-than-life figures who are and were living examples of what feminism stands for and shining examples of the strength mothers must have to overcome the adversities that make women’s rights so important.
The first two life lessons that I remember my mother teaching me were to “love all living things without bias and with the respect they deserve” and “always question authority.” I live by these quotes everyday and I know I’m not the only person who owes a great deal of their personal ethics and values to the early life lessons of their mother. It’s safe to say that the undying love a mother has for her child is something we can all understand, whether we are a mother or a child or both.
As Mother’s Day approaches, I cannot help but think how sad it is that we need to be reminded of how important mothers are in our lives. But then again, in this fast-paced world we live in, if it doesn’t come in the form of a Google or Facebook notice, most people would miss it. Anna Jarvis created the original official Mother’s Day following her mother’s death in 1905. Her goal was to establish a day that honored the sacrifices all mothers made for their children. Arguing that American holidays were biased toward male achievements, she started a massive campaign to make the celebration a national holiday. The persistence paid off and in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson declared Mother’s Day a national holiday.
Ironically, a few years after she succeeded in making Mother’s Day a national holiday, Anna Jarvis began a lifelong campaign to end Mother’s Day. By 1920, she had become disgusted with how commercialized the holiday had become and outwardly denounced the transformation. It was too late, the holiday had taken off and market capitalism already had a firm grip.
Like most holidays in America, the original meaning becomes hidden or blurred behind advertisements and branded products. For me, it’s not about what people are selling but what the holiday means to me. The opportunity to take time and show my mom how much I love and care for her is what Mother’s Day means to me.
A Perfect Day with Mom
A perfect day with mom, Mother’s Day or otherwise, would have to start out with a great breakfast at a favorite cafe. The rest of the day would be spent outside in nature. Maybe hiking with the dogs or horseback riding (her lifetime favorite) or just spending time in the backyard. Usually there is some deep existential discussion or metaphysical topic that we are discussing while Pink Floyd or the Beatles play in the background. It often feels like no one else could possibly understand the relationship that we share.
I love to cook for my mom. Growing up, my mother rarely cooked. Mostly because she was working three to four jobs to keep the electricity on but also because it wasn’t her thing and the 80s were the decade of the microwave! Now as her foodie son who loves to cook, I love to introduce new exotic foods and dishes. She’s not allowed to do the dishes or worry about anything—just drink her wine and enjoy the meal. There will most certainly be fresh picked flowers from the garden, a delicious dessert (usually chocolate) and a small gift of some kind.
Celebrating mothers is different and unique for everyone, but the principle is still the same. Honor the woman who has brought life to you in whatever varied and diverse way possible, no matter where you are in the world. Recognize the countless contributions of women and mothers everywhere and the ways in which so many have nurtured their families, communities, countries and the world as a whole. I could never thank you enough, Mom.