Today is the second Sunday in May, and if you happen to live in North America, you already know what day it is today.
It's Mother's Day!
Today is a day in which we are to celebrate mothers all over the world. It's a day to do something very special for our mothers, so I have decided that I will dedicate this blog entry to my own mother. Regardless of whether she sees this or not, I'm sure that either way, she would be happy to know that I did that.
And certainly, Mother's Day is a day in which millions of phone calls are made, millions of flowers are sent, and dozens of kitchen appliances are sold in retail establishments all across the country.
But, do any of you know how Mother's Day came to be?
It all began in the year 1870. A woman by the name of Julia Ward Howe issued the “Mother's Day Proclamation”, which was a pacifist reaction to the carnage of the American Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War. Below this paragraph, you can read the proclamation in full.
Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts, Whether our baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly: "We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies, Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."
From the bosom of the devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own. It says: "Disarm! Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice." Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession. As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war, Let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means Whereby the great human family can live in peace, Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar, But of God.
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask That a general congress of women without limit of nationality May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient And at the earliest period consistent with its objects, To promote the alliance of the different nationalities, The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.
The proclamation was linked to the beliefs that Howe had. She strongly believed that women had a responsibility to shape society at a political level.
It wouldn't be until years later that the first modern day celebration of Mother's Day was first celebrated. On May 12, 1907, Anna Jarvis held a small memorial for her mother, who had died two years previously. Anna's mother, Ann, had founded an organization called “Mothers' Day Work Clubs” in five cities to improve sanitary conditions at workplaces, and provided necessities to both Union and Confederate soldiers, maintaining its neutral stance.
Shortly after her memorial, Jarvis lobbied to make “Mother's Day” a recognized holiday in the United States, and in 1914, her wish was granted, as Mother's Day was officially recognized on May 10 of that year.
However, it's interesting to note that by the 1920s, Jarvis had already grown tired of the very holiday she helped create!
Well, the commercialism aspect of it.
Reportedly, she and her sister spent their entire fortune campaigning against what the holiday had become. In fact, Jarvis issued this statement regarding the popular activity of giving out greeting cards on the holiday.
“A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write the woman who has done more for you than anything in this world. And candy! You take a box to Mother – and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment.”
Her bitterness certainly made evident.
But you know, she did have a point.
Mother's Day, much like any other holiday these days, is way too commercialized. It's almost as if you have to buy your mother a new loveseat, a 42-inch television, a Tassimo coffee maker, and a florist's entire selection of daffodils and chrysanthemums in order to make this the best Mother's Day ever.
And it really shouldn't have to be that way.
You don't have to select the most expensive cards or gifts to show your mother just how much you love her. You just have to be creative. You can make her breakfast in bed. You can take her out for a picnic if it's warm enough. Even just spending the entire day with her would be a perfect present.
Material things don't mean anything these days. It's the thoughts behind them that count, as well as the precious time that you spend together. For those of you reading this who have had to say goodbye to their mothers, I'm sure that you would give almost anything just to have more time together.
Wow, I've spent so much time talking about Mother's Day that I completely forgot that I have to post a Sunday Jukebox song today.
But, which song to pick?
There's not really a whole lot of selection when it comes to finding songs about Mother's Day. Very few songs even have the word mother in the title.
There's Tracy Bonham's “Mother Mother” from 1996, but that song's a little bit too loud, and the tone isn't exactly appropriate for the theme of the day.
Then there was the lesser-known Spice Girls hit “Mama” from 1997...but I already did a blog entry on the Spice Girls a while ago (though the song itself is not bad).
As it so happens, the song that I eventually settled on was also released in 1997. It's a song that marks the final Top 10 smash a particular R&B group had on the charts. And, I can't think of a better song to showcase on the blog for Mother's Day.
ARTIST: Boyz II Men
SONG: A Song For Mama
DATE RELEASED: November 11, 1997
DATE RELEASED: November 11, 1997
PEAK POSITION ON THE BILLBOARD CHARTS: #7
Boyz II Men was made up of Michael McCary, Nathan Morris, Wanya Morris, and Shawn Stockman. McCary left the band in 2003 due to health problems, but the band continues touring as a trio. The above song was also featured in the 1997 film, “Soul Food”, which starred Vanessa L. Williams, Nia Long, Vivica A. Fox, and Mekhi Pfifer. The film is basically about an extended African-American family that is held together by long standing family traditions. But when the matriarch of the family suffers health problems, the family is at risk of falling apart.
I have actually never seen the movie myself, so I can't say for sure what it is really about...but judging by descriptions and plot summaries that I've read, it does illustrate the importance of the mother of a family. In most families, the mother really is the glue that holds the family together. She deserves to feel special on Mother's Day, and every other day of the year.
I know that I feel that way about my own mother. Sure, we may have our fights and quarrels, and sure she may drive me absolutely crazy. But she loves me...and I love her too.
Happy Mother's Day to my mother and all mothers everywhere!