This Sunday, we honor a woman who answers to many names. You may know her as Mother, Mama, Mommy, or simply, Mom. No matter her title, the responsibility she takes on and the gift she gives so willingly are often incomprehensible to us as children. It is often when we reach adulthood or we, ourselves, become parents, that we truly understand what our own mother has given us.
As an adult, Anna Jarvis of Grafton, West Virginia realized just how important her mother was to her and her entire family. In 1905, after the death of her dear mother, the Tucker County native began a crusade to honor her mother’s wish to establish a day to celebrate all mothers. Jarvis first brought the idea to St. Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, where her mother had taught Sunday school classes for twenty years. In 1908, the church held its first official Mother’s Day service. West Virginia became the first state to recognize Mother’s Day as an official holiday in 1912 and in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Mother’s Day a national holiday, transforming Anna’s dream into a reality.
The holiday quickly grew in popularity across the globe, and the tradition continues today with the annual celebration of Mother’s Day each May. The church where it all began, St. Andrew’s Methodist Church, now serves as a National Historic Landmark and is known as the International Mother’s Day Shrine.
Whether you live near or far from the woman who raised and cared for you and who loves you unconditionally, take a few moments to offer your appreciation. I encourage all West Virginians to fulfill Anna Jarvis’ dream and celebrate the mothers in your lives This year, show your gratitude for your mother with a simple “thank you,” a hug, or perhaps a gift from the heart.
Mothers give of themselves as they shape babies into children and children into adults. This commitment is lifelong-characterized by many ups and downs, twists and turns. We take each with our mothers holding our hand, giving advice, and watching us persevere—just as she taught us. I am grateful for the mothers in my life and thank them for all they’ve done and what they continue to do for my family.
From my family to yours, I wish you a Happy Mother’s Day.