Mother’s Day was established not by the Hallmark card company – by the way, 141 million Mother’s Day cards will be sent this weekend – but by a Philadelphia woman, Anna Marie Jarvis. She did so to honor her mother’s dream of having a national day that paid tribute to mothers.
Anna Marie enlisted the help of Philadelphia department store scion John Wanamaker, who undoubtedly had a bunch of perfume, soap and moderately priced jewelry to unload. On May 10, 1908, a Mother’s Day celebration was held in the auditorium at Wanamaker’s Center City store. We just hope that while everyone was at Wanamaker’s, they bought their mother a nice gift. Mother’s Day was officially declared a national holiday in 1914.
Speaking of Mother’s Day gifts, we remember the years of carefully crayoned cards and handmade brooches with glitter glue and gilded puzzle pieces. Teen years meant the kids wanted a ride to the mall and the use of our credit card to buy us a present.
Ellen’s daughter, Jessie, usually gets to accompany her dad on a shopping trip late Saturday afternoon before Mother’s Day. He needs a young woman’s savvy to steer him away from the purple shirts and the size small lingerie and toward the jewelry counter. This year, Jessie is away at college for her freshman year and has to relinquish her personal shopper duties. Whatever Ellen opens on Sunday, it’ll obviously be from the heart — and probably be purple.
No matter how old your kids are, you’re always their mother. Whether it’s watching their Little League games or watching them debate Moot Court in law school, mothers always kvell at the accomplishments of their kids. When they’re young, there are so many immediate milestones — learning to walk, climbing on board the big school bus for the first time, learning to play a musical instrument. As kids get older, their accomplishments aren’t quite as visible as when they learned to use the potty, but they’re no less impressive. Your son’s first real job, where he opens the envelope, pulls out the check and screams at you, “Who is FICA and where is my money?” or the first time your daughter relays a conversation she had with an authority figure — a teacher or a boss — where she held her own and discussed the issue like an adult – are milestones that make parents proud.
Mother’s Day is this Sunday, May 9. If you are reading this now, time is running out. You might want to skip Hallmark and send Mom an e-card. You can always pay extra for speedy delivery of that flower arrangement. And if you see Ellen’s husband at the mall, don’t distract him. Just point him toward the jewelry.