Hugs for Moms and Grand-Moms Abraham Lincoln said, “All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” If that statement resonates with you, what have you done lately to make sure your mother knows you feel that way? Most mothers have little expectations of their children once they have families of their own – they’ve been there, done that and understand the limitations. But Mothers Day is one of those times when most mothers would be crushed if they didn’t at least get a phone call with the voice on the other end of the line saying, “I love you Mom – I just wanted you to know.” Although the Ten Commandments say we are to honor our mothers and fathers, a specific day on which to focus on our mothers didn’t happen until 1914 when President Woodrow Wilson declared the second Sunday in May as a national holiday. It wasn’t a high ranking political figure that initiated this holiday either. It was a daughter who loved her mother and wanted to keep the memory of that love and respect alive even though her mother had passed away. Anna Jarvis was the daughter who was inspired by her mother’s life of giving unselfishly, Ann Jarvis. Anna convinced her mother’s church in Grafton, West Virginia - Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church - to celebrate Mother’s Day on the second anniversary of her mother’s death in 1908. Anna’s mother had taught Sunday school in that church for 20 years so was well known and revered by the pastor and the congregation. In 1910 the governor of West Virginia proclaimed the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day and celebrated it state-wide the following year. Word spread quickly. By 1911, 45 states were celebrating Mothers Day. Today, more than 46 countries outside of the United States celebrate Mother’s Day although not necessarily on the second Sunday in May. In fact, some countries celebrate mothers on completely different months throughout the year. According to the National Restaurant Association, Mother’s Day is now the most popular day of the year to dine out in the United States. It is now also one of the most commercially successful U.S holidays, which would not please Anna Jarvis. She made her intentions quite clear when she said, “I wanted a day of sentiment, not profit.” Most mothers would tend to agree with Anna Jarvis. What mothers want is time with their most prized life’s work – their children and grandchildren. Mothers are all about sharing love, warmth and affection every day, but especially on that day. How do we do this without running out at the last minute to find a gift we hope will make up for so little communication with our mothers throughout the rest of the year? How about cooking a meal for her – surprise her with a Mothers Day breakfast? What about lunch or dinner comprised of her favorite dishes prepared by you? Maybe even show up the day before and clean her house, repair some things she can’t, mow and weed the yard or wash her car or pet. Younger mothers don’t need flowers, cakes or jewelry as much as they need a break from the kitchen and laundry. Order food in or hire someone else to do the cooking for a day. Make her feel like she really is Queen for a day. If you are feeling creative, make her something rather than buying her something. Put together a family collage with pictures from childhood forward. Decorate a pot or vase and then fill it with some fresh f lowers. Whatever the gift, make sure it holds sentimental value for her. Kristi Haislip says, “I like to treat Mothers Day really special for my Mom. Since Mom was a single Mom most of my life, I choose to honor her as both my Mom and Dad on that day.” “I always try to figure out something we can do with her as a family that she would really enjoy. She simply loves to have us kids and grandkids around her on that day. I want to make sure she knows how much I love and appreciate her. I know Mom just wants to be with me and I want her to feel revered by me especially on that day.” Eric Haislip says, “I haven’t always spent time with my Mom on Mothers Day, but I have always given her some mad money and bought her a plant. I’m sure she would like to spend more time with me, but when I can’t, she seems quite content with my traditional card, mad money and plant.” Connie Nutter says, “I hate it when someone asks me about this kind of stuff. I’m not very good at this sort of thing.” “I do always call my Mom and wish her a Happy Mothers Day, but that’s usually all I ever do. She knows I’m a really practical person and accepts me for how I am. If I know there is something she needs or wants, I always try to get it for her. I also like to pop in on her to surprise her with a visit regularly – not always on Mothers Day, but other times throughout the year.” “Unfortunately, my practical side has rubbed off on my two daughters. I might get a card one year and not the next”, she laughs. “My girls have never really done much for me on Mothers Day except wish me a Happy Mothers Day. My husband will either cook for me or take me out to eat. He’s usually the one who tries to make that day special for me.” Pat Stonestreet says, “My very favorite Mothers Day was when my two youngest were small. They decided to make breakfast in bed for me, but they were too little to use the stove. They brought their Daddy and me up a bowl of Fruit Loops (which I detested), a piece of toast, a glass of milk and a glass of water. When we finished that, I suggested that maybe there were some Crispy Wheat’s and Raisins in the kitchen and I would love to have some. They ran to the kitchen and got them. Unfortunately there was only enough for one of us, so their Daddy ended up having to eat a second bowl of the dreaded Fruit Loops.” “For my mother, I usually do things with her on Saturday. I fix her something special for dinner generally. She likes just to be with me and Jim these days. All the noise and commotion with the grandkids and great grandkids is a little too much for her since she’s gotten older.” “I feel the most blessed and the most unworthy on Mothers Day. I always think of all the ways I could have been a better Mom to my children when they were growing up.” Julie Shackelford says, “Two traditional things I could always count on when the boys were growing up was breakfast fixed by the boys and Richard. Breakfast always included my favorite - chocolate covered strawberries. They would start making them the night before. It was so funny to watch. I think they ate half of them before ever reaching the refrigerator.” “I always got served my chocolate covered strawberries and coffee on Sunday morning. The boys would make sure to pick up after themselves that day and would even do the dishes if we cooked at home. We usually went out to eat later in the morning as a family.” “They always got me a piece of nice jewelry that would remind me of that particular Mothers Day. For example, one year they gave me a ring that had two black onyx stones shaped like hearts to represent each of the boys.” “In the evening, we would always go to my Mom’s and take her out to dinner. It was either a cookout or someplace like Red Lobster.” Anita Brown says, “I just like to spend time face to face with my grown children on that day. I have no preference when it comes to the activities as long as we can be together. I need to connect with them on that day. I’ve always taught my children that they are to honor their Mother and Father. This is the one day a year that I think I should be specifically honored as their mother. No gifts are necessary.” “I always honor my mother the same way every year. Since we live several hours apart and I am always hopeful that I will be spending Mothers Day with my own grown children, I send her three pots of flowers that she hangs on her back porch. The plants are designed to last throughout the summer and into the fall. That way every time she looks onto her back porch, she thinks of me and how I feel about her.” “I also hand write her a note each year telling her how much she means to me and how much I appreciate all she has done for me my entire life. I may not always see her or even call her, but she knows how I feel about her because of this tradition we started years ago. This year’s note will be a lot longer. Since I have been dealing with breast cancer this year, she has been an incredible support for me. I have so many more things to thank her for this year.” Well, if you haven’t been able to glean ideas from these children, mothers and grandmothers as to what to do for your mother or grandmother, maybe you should just ask your Mom or grandmother how she would like to spend Mothers Day. No one would know better than her what honoring her should look like. Proverbs 31:25-29 says it best: “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all’.” HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!