In 1907, Anna Jarvis led a campaign to recognize the second Sunday in May as “Mother’s Day.” It was after her own mother’s death that she’d decided there should be a day to formally recognize one’s mother.
Just two years later, Jarvis began campaigning against the very holiday she started. She felt the holiday was becoming too commercialized. A printed greeting card? She thought those were for people too lazy to write a heartfelt letter.
“A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world. And candy! You take a box to Mother—and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment!”
Jarvis never married or had children. A wealthy woman for most of her life, she died in abject poverty. She and her sister spent their entire life savings fighting against the commercialism of Mother’s Day.
Okay. So most of us are guilty of the pre-printed card. (Will Tog and TG send me Mother’s Day greetings via Twitter one day?)
But though it’s commercial, it doesn’t have to be trite. A beautiful tribute can be published right here in cyberspace with nothing but a great photo and a line about what mom means to you.
Herewith, my dear readers—-and the dear mothers they love.
Dear reader: Saptosa Foster. Dear mother: Joanne Woodard. "This is my mom - Joanne Woodard - the love of my life. My mom founded a very successful charter school in Wilson, N.C. nearly 15 years ago (www.salliebhowardschool.com). She single-handedly revolutionized education for black and Hispanic children in our small, country town. It was pretty amazing to witness this growing up. Everyone in town loves her. You would too if you met her."
Dear reader:Thurselle Chisolm-Watts Dear Mother: Lillian G. Evans (also pictured, Thurselle's daughter, Yasmine Chisolm) "My mom is important to me because she nurtured and prepared me for every aspect of living; she did more than give birth-- she raised me."
Dear Reader: Portia Chinnery Dear Mother: Esther Chinnery I forgot to ask Portia to give me a line about her mother. But luckily, I can do it myself. Because Mrs. Chinnery has been like a mother to me since high school. She's a no non-sense woman who manages to be loving and stern at the same time. In 10th grade, I dated a guy. Mrs. Chinnery did not approve. Whenever he and I came to her house, she had a look for me that spoke VOLUMES. For the next ten years, I looked at every guy I dated through her eyes. Would she give me The Look if she met this dude?
Dear reader Kimberly Woods and her dear mother. "My dear mother has taught me so very much about being a strong, educated black woman, as well as the importance of family fun and quality time. The photo depicts my mom and I experiencing our favorite place, Walt Disney World. The top photo is of us at the pool back in the 80s and the bottom photo depicts my joy (and her pride) when I was able to show my appreciation and bring her to Disney in 2005. Though my mom struggles with many issues, WDW allows us to forget them all and just relax, even if it's just for a week."
Dear reader: Andrea Wynn Dear mother: Sandra Wynn
My mom has always recognized and supported my ability to make my own decisions. Through all of the schools, moves, career changes, and other nonsense that we experience in our twenties, she’s always had my back.
- Dear reader: James Sanders
Dear mother: Yvette Yvonne Gayle
Even though she’s gone – I will love her always. Taken December 23, 1986
Dear reader: Retha Nicholson Fernandez Top photo: Retha and her dear mother: Sonia. Bottom photo: Retha's mom and grandmother Gloria. "My mom and I have a contentious relationship at best (we have the same birthday), but when it really counts, I mean really counts, she is always there for me....without question. My grandmother is 84 and still going STRONG. She works out every morning to cable show workout programs. She's an example to us all."
Dear reader: Katura Hudson. Dear mother: Cheryl Wilis Hudson My mom knows how to live, laugh and love, and I'm learning from her example.
Dear Readers: I threw out a request for photos and anecdotes at the very last minute on Saturday afternoon. I wish I had thought of this a week ago! I was humbled and verklempt at all the awesome photos and quotes my dear readers sent in. Thanks much.
Even if you didn’t get a chance to send in a photo, can you please share with me what your mother or mother-figure means to you?
I’d love to hear from you…
September 26, 1974. My first birthday. Holding me is my paternal grandmother, Ollie King. And helping to cut the cake is my mother, Rita Moore King. Long before I ever thought about being a writer, I watched my mom pitch stories to Essence and Reader's Digest. I walked with her to the mailbox to send off her pitches. I felt the nervous joy radiating from her as we walked back home to wait. I felt her wince when the fancy letterhead came with nicely worded rejection letters. She edited my first words. And has saved every single thing I've written---from Mother's Day cards, (even the pre-printed ones) to magazine articles and books. My mom is my biggest cheerleader. And she's my favorite writer.