Well, tomorrow it strikes — Mother’s Day. If you are a male and forget it you may have to dig deep to make amends. Here is story of Mother’s Day from the History Channel: “Mother’s Day began in the United States, at the initiative of Ann Reeves Jarvis in the early 20th century. Mother’s Day is not usually related to many traditional celebrations of mothers and motherhood that have existed around the world over thousands of years.

Those Mother’s Day included such holidays as the Greek cult to Cybele, the Roman festival of Hilaria, or the Christian Mothering Sunday celebration which originally was a commemoration of the Catholic Mother Church, not motherhood. Still in some countries, Mother’s Day is still synonymous with these older traditions and some church festivals.”

Ann Reeves Jarvis was a remarkable woman. According to several biographers she “envisioned Mother’s Day as a time to recognize and celebrate the incredible work that mothers do, both in caring for their own children but also caring for the community at large.”

Jarvis was “extremely upset at how the holiday was co-opted by candy and greeting card companies. In 1923, she even crashed a candy-makers’ convention in Philadelphia to protest the commercialization of the holiday she had started.”

A political candidate and mother herself wrote not too long ago that “it takes a village to raise a child.” I am somewhat unsure of that statement, but I do know it takes strong women to raise children and commit to caring for the greater community as a whole.

Many men are conflicted about Mother’s Day as many women are conflicted about Father’s Day. My wife is not my mother but she is the mother of our children. I am not her father but the father of our children. Many a man has reached the rocky shore of disaster in a delivery room when he is reminded of the role he took in the creation of “our children.” That is not the time to remind your spouse that it takes two to tango.

There is no shortage of what to do for Mother’s Day. There are concerts, opportunities to go out to eat, flowers to buy, cards to buy, breakfast in bed, and even just letting Mom sleep in. There are church services galore and, well, what ever you come up with as long as Mom does not have to set it up herself.

At our house the girls will call and/or send cards. I will go card shopping and perhaps order flowers or a plant for her. It appears that we will make the journey to Marshfield to be with her mother and her aunt for a couple of hours. I may drive past the house I grew up in, but it is now occupied by ghosts of times gone by.

My mom has been gone now for over 25 years. I am not being maudlin, but I have trouble remembering what her voice sounded like. It is natural in life that as we get older we lose our parents. They would want it no other way. It is nature being nature.

I have one memory of my mother that will never leave me. Every day that we were required to be off and about at a certain time she would stand at the bottom of the stairs and, there is not another word for it, warble “rise and shine little boys”.

I really got to dislike that morning call. I will not relate the tale of what happened when my younger brother, as a junior in high school, replied to her call one spring morning. My father was home for some reason and he resolved the situation by planting his foot deeply against my brothers butt. Not to be outdone my mother continued that call for as long as I was home.

On this Mother’s Day, if your mom is still with you, give her a call or Facetime or whatever the new electronic age brings. There are biological mothers, step mothers, aunts that have been your mother and foster mothers. Whoever the woman in your life is that has made you the person you are today would like to hear from you.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there.

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John R. Andersen of Lake Hallie is a former state employee who remains active in the fields of fire prevention, government and education.


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