Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother’s Day

Tree Huggers
Two of our grandchildren on a wonderful day in May!

Mother’s Day is an interesting phenomenon!
by Charlie Leck

Mother’s Day, as a day of recognition, has a rather complex history. That history predates the establishment of it in the U.S. upon the recommendation by Anna Jarvis in 1912. Jarvis was very specific about the placement of the apostrophe so that it would be spelled as a singular possessive to go along with her suggestion that each family pay respects to and honor its own, individual mother. The U.S. Congress and President Woodrow Wilson made the day a part of U.S. law and most Presidents since have made flowery declarations when each subsequent Mother’s Day rolled around.

In fact, our Mother’s Day has a number of historical antecedents. In ancient Greece there was a festival of Cybele, a mother of a number of important Greek gods. The Romans also celebrated the holiday of Matronalia upon which mothers were presented with gifts by their children.

So there! You would have been lacking in your education had you not be brought up to date on these facts.

In Britain they call the day Mothering Sunday and it is a part of the religious calendar of the Church of England.

Mother’s Day is celebrated on various dates on the calendar, but almost always on Sunday, in nations as varied and different as Norway and Belarus – in Russia, China, Israel, Afghanistan, Laos, Iraq, Somalia, Nepal, Mexico, Canada, Trinidad, Zambia, Mongolia, Thailand, Argentina and dozens and dozens more.

Why not?

No one deserves a day of recognition more than a mother. From the moment of conception, it is difficult for a man to understand what a woman goes through as a mother. First of all, from the time she struggles through those labor pains, she is basically giving up 20 or more years of her own personal and private life. I watch my own daughters parent and marvel at the sacrifices a mother makes for her children. When I suggest some marvelous book that they just must sit down and read, I get this strange, sarcastic look from them that says without saying, “Yeh, right!”

Fathers can seem to escape more and manage to keep something of themselves and a clearly defined independence. It never seems to happen for mothers. Even in private moments their thoughts, worries and hearts are back wherever their children are.

There is no responsibility on earth quite like being a mother and none quite so important.

My own mother died too young, 50 years ago this year. I knew her only from a child’s perspective. I enjoy so, watching my wife, seeing now how mothers relate to their sons and daughters as adults. Still mothers! Always mothers!

The entire institution of motherhood is remarkable and, indeed, deserves to be recognized and celebrated.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you wonderful mothers out there. You are the very glue that holds civilization together! How I wish you could also be our world leaders and the heads of state in so many more nations.

Sunday NY Times & Mother's Day

Only the NY Sunday Times can really add great class to Mother's Day. They've done it again this year and you might want to take it in.

First, the Times asked a half dozen female artists to submit captioned portraits of their mothers. They're really extraordinary and clever. The artist Paloma Varga Weisz says of her mother, "She always has an answer for everything -- even when you haven't asked." [click here to see the portraits]

Then, the great newspaper asked five outstanding women medical or health experts to explain what they would give the developing world for Mother's Day. I was touched by each of the answers but especially by that of L. Lewis Wall, professor of obstetrics and gynecology and anthropology at Washington University. [read their short little essays by clicking here]

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