Today is Mother’s Day, and though we shouldn’t need Hallmark to tell us to celebrate the women who gave us life, it’s a nice reminder.
I had no idea the history behind the holiday, did you? One woman, Anna Marie Jarvis from West Chester, Pennsylvania is the founder of Mother’s Day holiday in the United States. Anna followed her mother’s lead with her Mother’s Day Work Clubs to improve sanitary and health conditions for women. The Mother’s Day Work Clubs also treated wounds, fed, and clothed both Union and Confederate soldiers with neutrality. On May 12, 1907, two years after Anna’s mother’s death, Anna held a memorial to her mother and thereafter embarked upon a campaign to make Mother’s Day a recognized holiday. All because she wanted to honor and recognize the contributions her mother made to her and society.
Fast forward to the ladies that have influenced my life, they may not have improved conditions for women in Philadelphia like Anna Jarvis did but that doesn’t make major contributions to my growth and development any less notable. I have such sweet memories of my maternal grandmother, Mozelle Alston Davis: the importance of family, having Sunday dinner, every Sunday (no excuses!), where she served homemade everything from her garden. The table properly set with enough chairs for everyone to indulge all at once. Mozelle was so busy taking care of everyone one else, she didn’t take care of herself or perhaps she wasn’t educated enough to understand the complications of having diabetes, she left us way too soon.
My fond memories of my paternal grandmother, Marzella Cole Russell made include home entertaining, social awareness and proper etiquette. Oh, and did I mention fashion, Nana Russell was the original diva.
My mother Bessie Davis Russell got married very young and started her family early in her marriage. Bessie’s goals for her daughters included everything that would make us the best we could be while learning about ourselves. Discovering ourselves while taking ballet lessons, music lessons, summer camps, charm school classes at Gimbel’s Department Store, believing parochial and private education would contribute to discipline in life. She was the domestic goddess before Martha Stewart coined the phrase and proved this every holiday celebration. When my first child was born, my mother left her home in Philadelphia and stayed with me and my family in Harrisburg for nearly three months because I didn’t feel comfortable putting my child in daycare at such a young age.
I am thankful for a great loving relationship with my mother. We talk everyday, visit when possible and with all the technical advances, we text, email and share photos of events in our lives. I look forward to love and honoring my mother every day of the week, every day of the year–not just today. I love how we shower each other with presents when we see each other. When I am out and about, If I see something I think she would like or enjoy, I buy it for her.
As one of the ten commandments say “honor thy father and thy mother is the first commandment with promise; that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth,” and this holiday is just a small part in that.
How do you celebrate your Mother?