DARKE COUNTY — Each second Sunday in May, mothers of all ages across the United States will be celebrated by their children with sentimental expressions of love and affection.
Youngsters often look to the backyard for inspiration, picking handfuls of colorful flowers, such as dandelions and violets, to accompany simple hand-made notes and “fridge art.” Older children might exercise their culinary skills to make brunch or grill out, while many adult “kids” may express their affection through Hallmark and Russell Stover.
No matter the gift, moms everywhere, young and old, smile at the thought of being honored in a special way on Mother’s Day.
Although mothers have been lauded since ancient times across the globe, the celebration of Mother’s Day, as a recognized holiday, is fairly recent in the United States. Woman’s activist, abolitionist and early suffragette, Anna Marie Jarvis, petitioned for the creation of a holiday to pay tribute to the enduring love and sacrifice of all mothers, living and deceased, shortly after the death of her own mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, who established the antebellum “Mother’s Day Work Clubs” which rendered aid to indigent women and mothers who were often ill due to impoverished and unsanitary living conditions.
Throughout the Civil War, when attempts to disrupt the Baltimore and Ohio railroad depot near Grafton, W. Va., were ongoing, Ann Jarvis quickly responded by offering aid to both Union and Confederate soldiers, preserving a bond of peace in spite of bitter political differences. After the war, in 1865, Ann Jarvis’ efforts were celebrated by Civil War survivors in “Mother’s Friendship Day.” As a devout Christian, Ann Jarvis lead many Bible studies about motherhood, which inspired her 12-year-old daughter, Anna, to campaign later in life for a special day, set aside to honor all mothers.
In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a resolution which established the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day. While mothers are honored throughout the world on different months and days, Mother’s Day has become a special time for children, of all ages, to honor their moms. Jarvis, herself, wore carnations — her mother’s favorite flower — as a tribute to all mothers, with red to symbolize the living, and white to remember the deceased.
My mother, Barbara (a Miami County native), passed away in 2016. Recently, upon looking though many family scrapbooks, it occurred to me how very few photos I actually have of my mother (she was always the one behind the camera taking the photos) — and fewer still of her standing next to me. Hodgkins disease, breast cancer, and three debilitating car accidents couldn’t hold her back from being at every game, recital, performance, ceremony or graduation for me and my siblings. She was truly the rock of our family, who, in her quiet way, reminded us that a mother’s love is ever-present, speaking without words — even through the passage of time in those old, faded photographs.
Recently, I asked a few of my Darke County friends to tell me what they admired most about their moms, along with a snapshot. Here are some of their thoughts:
“My mom, Paula, is ornery and encourageable, gracious and grateful, a pillar of strength, my partner for any practical joke. She’s bright and inquisitive, gentle and genuine. My mom can find humor in any solemn occasion. She supports all my outlandish ideas and is often the fodder behind them. She’s my inspiration and my golden best friend.” — Jessica Schiavone, Director, UCM Day Services, LLC – ArtSense
“What I admire most about my Mom, is that through it all, through the years, she managed to stay firmly planted in one place — Home. For 55 years (and counting), the place I grew up in. Not many could do that!” —Carla Hill Clark, Founder, BARK Animal Rescue, Inc.
“The think I love most about my Mom is that no matter what I do, she will always be by my side and support me that best she can. She also always tells me the truth no matter how bad the situation. These are just some of the things I love about my mother.” — Zeb Hannan, University Student
“When I think of the word “Mom,” one person comes to mind. For some, numerous people could come to mind. But mine is just one. Just one, special, loving person. She endlessly takes care of those around her. If you need something, she’s there. If you have a question at 2 a.m., she answers. If you need someone to talk to, she listens. If you need advice, she’s honest. I don’t remember a single time that she has turned me away or not helped. Her heart is bottomless, full of a desire to help. When others think of a mom, they may think of the person that gave birth to them. Mine is not only that — she is a nurse, a caretaker, a wife, an aunt, a sister, a daughter, a fighter, a listener, and best of all, my best friend. No words could express how thankful and blessed I am. Happy Mother’s Day, Momma!” — Mariah Hannan, Teacher
Carol Marsh covers community interest stories and handles obituaries for Darke County Media. She can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 937-569-4314.