Sunday, May 14, 2023

From the High School Lesson Book - Happy Mother's Day

This post contains affiliate links - using affiliate links from HS Coffee Break helps fuel this blog. 

Motherhood is the greatest thing and the hardest thing. ~Ricki Lake

I'm one of the lucky moms that gets to be with my kids this weekend―the Maryland kids anyway―so it's a good day for me! We are in Maryland for the weekend to celebrate our daughter's graduation from Mount St. Mary's University, and we had our Mother's Day dinner out on Friday evening. We're heading home sometime after church on Sunday, but will probably get back too late to see my Ohio family. I sent a card and letter to my Mom that I hoped would arrive on time, but I'm not counting on it. Sometimes it takes three days for my mail to reach its destination in Canada and other times it will take three weeks. But either way I'll call.

For some, Mother's Day is not a good day for various reasons. If it brings to mind pain or sorrow for you, I pray that you will find healing and peace.

Mother's Day 2021

Mother's Day 2019

Some form of Mother's Day is celebrated around the world, in more than fifty countries. The second Sunday in May is the "big day" in the United States, Canada, Australia, and many European countries. United Kingdom and Ireland celebrate in March, and Mexico and El Salvador celebrate on May 10th (so their "big day" was yesterday). France and Sweden celebrate later in May. Argentina celebrates in October, and Russia in November. 

Setting aside a day to honor mothers goes way back in history and at least a couple of very early traditions are related to religious practice. The ancient Greeks had a festival to honor the goddess Rhea, whom they believed was the mother of the gods. Early Christians honored Mary, the mother of Jesus, on a specific day during the Lent season. And the earliest version of Mother's Day in the United Kingdom was actually a Sunday during Lent on which everyone was supposed to attend their mother church. 

If you have a mom, there is nowhere you are likely to go where a prayer has not already been. ~Robert Brault

There are three suggested narratives for how our modern Mother's Day came about. In 1872, Julia Ward Howe, the writer of Battle Hymn of the Republic, pushed for a day dedicated to peace that would honor mothers. Another origin story involves Mrs. Juliet Calhoun Blakeley, who stepped into the pulpit when her pastor son left abruptly and called upon other mothers to join her. This was on the second Sunday of May in 1877. Her two sons made a practice of returning to their hometown to honour her and encouraged others to set aside the second Sunday of May to honour their mothers.

I am sure that if the mothers of various nations could meet, there would be no more wars. ~E.M. Forster

The story most of us have heard is about Anna Jarvis who began the movement to a national Mother's Day in 1907. She wanted a day to honour all mothers, living and dead, and felt this would help in bringing the country back together during the ongoing healing process following the War Between the States. In a church service on the second Sunday of May, she handed out her mother's favorite flowers, white carnations. She and her supporters wrote letters to clergy, businessmen, and politicians, and the movement and practice spread to most of the states by 1911. President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the second Sunday of May in 1914 a national holiday in honour of mothers. 

Since President Wilson's proclamation, Mother's Day has continuously grown in popularity and is now a huge occasion for giving gifts and cards, and it's been said that Anna Jarvis was angry at how quickly the day became commercialized. 

The National Restaurant Association says it's the most popular day of the year to dine out in the U.S. with about 62 percent of Americans going to a restaurant. (This is why my family chooses a different day other than Sunday to go out!) 

The age of your children is a key factor in how quickly you are served in a restaurant. ~Erma Bombeck

It's the third largest card-sending holiday, with an estimated 150 million cards exchanged each year, according to the Greeting Card Association. And about 65 percent of card sales happen in the week leading up to Mother's Day!

Mother's Day is the busiest phone day of the year, with over 120 million calls placed. (Remember when the volume of calls slowed everything down and your call might not go through because everyone else was also phoning home? I sure do.)

There are more internet searches for 'flowers' leading up to Mother's Day than leading up to Valentine's Day. (Personally, I suspect this is because more people need to send flowers, while Valentine's flowers are more often given in person.)  One Mother's Day tradition is wearing a carnation. A colored carnation if your mother is still living, and a white carnation if she has passed away.

Mother's Day is the third largest retail holiday, according to the National Retail Federation. This year it's estimated that American consumers will spend over 21 billion dollars overall on Mother's Day. Wow!!

Everyone wants to save the world, but no one wants to help mom do the dishes. ~P.J. O'Rourke

When I was growing up, our church often opened up a time for anyone attending to say a few words about their mother. Of course there were many very heart-felt and moving statements of love and gratitude for moms, but there were always at least a few people who seemed overly sentimental and I had the impression it was a rehearsed speech so a box could be checked off. Annual obligatory statement about mother? Check. I always thought, and still do, that while it's absolutely wonderful to shower mothers with gifts and special treatment on this one day, but if that's the only day you call your mom or treat her right, you're doing it wrong. If you love your mom, you shouldn't need a Hallmark holiday or a big restaurant promotion to remind you to express your devotion.

Mothers are not the nameless, faceless stereotypes who appear once a year on a greeting card with their virtues set to prose, but women who have been dealt a hand for life and play each card one at a time the best way they know how. ~Erma Bombeck

While all old people have been young, no young people have been old, and this troubling fact engenders the frustration of all parents and elders, which is that while you can describe your experience, you cannot confer it. ~Andrew Solomon

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple. With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me. ~Jenny Joseph

No purple hats but we're wearing red! My sister
and me with our daughters.

The experience of motherhood sure changes as you get older, doesn't it? I guess that's a question for moms who have been at it for quite a few years. The things that were once a big deal might not be so any more, and sometimes things that seemed trivial earlier take on new meaning. With a first baby, many of us are meticulous about recording every milestone, no matter how tiny. But there are plenty of jokes about how third, fourth, or fifth children don't even have a baby book to record their early years. I was kind of like that, starting a baby book with high hopes for each of my children, but just finding it hard to write everything down. But like most moms I know, I have lots of memories of my babies. Sometimes I just need something to jog that memory out of the mental filing cabinet. I do wish I'd written more down, of course. But I think it's safe to say that moms can keep memories in their hearts, where they mean the most, even if the dates and specific details get lost over the years. 

Youth fades; love droops; the leaves of friendship fall; a mother's secret hope outlives them all. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Children are the anchors that hold a mother to life. ~Sophocles

I think that's what Mary was doing. Storing away all the precious memories of her experience of her very unusual pregnancy, Jesus' birth story and his childhood, and all the prophecies and teachings that she had to ponder and fit everything together.

Then he [Jesus, at about twelve years old] went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.
~Luke 2:51~

And though her son was God himself, she and Joseph were obedient in raising him right and in the faith. What an example of a good mother! Timothy's mother and grandmother were heroes of faith as well, and examples to me.

I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.
~II Timothy 1:5~

Wishing a very happy Mother's Day to all the homeschool moms out there! 

Sooner or later we all start quoting our mothers. ~Anonymous

This post is adapted from WQ - Happy Mother's Day!, which appeared on A Fresh Cup of Coffee in May 2023.

 Don't miss a coffee break! Subscribe to HS Coffee Break by email 

 ©2006-2023 HS Coffee Break. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. 

 We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.


Post a Comment

I love comments! It's like visiting over a virtual cup of coffee.