Mother’s Day is NOT a Hallmark Moment
By Susan Fogel
May 3, 2010
Mother’s Day: What do you think of when you hear those words? Going to church with the whole family? Maybe you and your siblings pitched in and bought a corsage for your mother?
And then after church, Mother cooked for everyone?
Did you make cards and gifts in school?
When I was growing up, my sisters and I would make a crown for Mom and bring her breakfast in bed.We would get all dressed up and go to church. And Mom would come home and cook a big Sunday dinner for us and the extended family. Not much different than any other Sunday in the 50’s and 60’s. Mother’s of the last century had one day supposedly to themselves, maybe they had a few hours with thweir feet up.
As we got older we spent more money on Mom and less time with her.
And when I became a mother, my daughter made Mother’s Day very special. Sometimes she would present me with some pansies and marigolds, a flower pot and potting soil. We would re-plant the flowers together. As she got older, she made Mother’s Day more interesting with handmade cards, songs, poems, and meals she cooked, or arranged at a restaurant. And another time she flew from Sioux Falls to California with friends and surpised me with her visit. It was wonderful. She is wonderful.
And now she is flying down from Dallas to spend a long 10 days with me. She has to take three flights to get here and pay a dog sitter, but she is coming and we will walk on the beach, talk, read, sew and just be together.
My mother used to say the best gift you can give to an elder is your time. And she is right.
There is another aspect to Mother’s Day:
It is a day that Woodrow Wilson proclaimed as a holiday. It is a day for which t Julia Ward Howe wrote the Mother’s Day Proclamation in 1872.
Julia Ward Howe was a feminist, abolitionist, pacifist, poet, playwright, mother and also author of The Battle Hymn of the Republic. She was commissioned by Presoident Wilson to write The Mother’s Day Proclamation
Here are two videos both with actors you know reciting the words of her Mother’s Day Proclamation.
And video number 2:
To learn more about this remarkable woman go here: Julia Ward Howe
And here are the words of the Mother’s Day Proclamation for you to read:
Julia Ward Howe
Arise then…women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
“We will not have questions answered 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 a 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 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.