Happy Mother’s Day


When my sons were little the Mother’s Day gift I most appreciated was solitude. Mother’s Day was the one day of the year when my husband would pack them up, leaving me the luxury of sleeping in, catching up on my reading and maybe even squeezing in a pedicure.

I could rely on a solid 6 hours of being my own best friend - and if that appeals, check out our May feature by Pam LeBlanc!  Just having silence was a gift all its own.

As they grew older that need for distance waned. They became self-sufficient – although not particularly quiet – and we spent most Mother’s Days at baseball tournaments, state parks or the beach, places we could all enjoy in our own ways.

Mother’s Day you see, is a holiday tailored to the needs of the person it honors. The mom.

First celebrated in 1908 in Pennsylvania, it became a national holiday in 1914 during the Wilson administration. Anna Jarvis, the “mother” of Mother’s Day (as it were) envisioned it as a personal celebration between mother and child – a tribute to the sacrifices every mom makes for her children. And Mother’s Day really caught on.

Bolstered by the floral industry, and with the support of financial magnates John Wanamaker and H.J. Heinz, the holiday outpaced even Ms. Jarvis’ dreams. In fact by 1920 she was decrying its commercialism and publicly announced that Mother’s Day should be a day of sentiment, not profit.

As it turns out it continues to be a bit of both. In the U.S. it’s typically the busiest day of the year for restaurants topping even Valentine’s Day, about $5 billion is spent on gifts for moms each May, and it’s the number one day for flower sales!  But there is sentiment too. Call volume increases over 10% on Mother’s Day, and it’s not as if those moms are hitting up brunch, lunch and dinner by themselves.

Of course, our world has changed. And as I sit in my home office writing this, I’m surrounded by my not quite fully-fledged adult children completing their final college assignments for the semester.  And after nearly two months I’m sort of wishing that my former ideal personal celebration of solitude was once again on the table.

@ Chase Fountain/TPWD

While Texas is starting to re-open, restrictions might limit the commercial aspect of your Mother’s Day planning this year, but sentiment is always something you can deliver.  Here are a few quick ideas on how you can still make it special for mom even if you’re all stuck… I mean spending quality time together… at home.

  • Take a page out of Anna Jarvis’ book and write a letter to your mother, after all in Anna’s words she’s “the woman who has done more for you than anyone else in the world.”
  • A craft that’s perfect for kids – make mom a card. Anna again, “any mother would rather have a line of the worst scribble from her son or daughter than a fancy greeting card.”
  • It may sound like a cliché but go ahead and bring her breakfast, or brunch, in bed. Pro tip: do the clean-up too!
  • Treat her to a picnic lunch. If crowding at your local park prevents effective social distancing, use flowers or greenery as a festive touch in your own backyard, or colorful blankets and pillows on the floor of your living room.
  • Take a walk or bike ride together, or simply sit outside and enjoy the day. You may not even know how much such a simple gesture will mean to her.
  • Flowers are nice for a few days; flowering plants can be nice for a lifetime. Choose a few natives that will thrive where she lives and plant or pot them for her.
  • Hug your mom. And if you can’t, at least make sure you are part of that 10% call volume surge.
After all, it’s Mother’s Day.

Actual Mother's Day 2011, watching my boys fish at McKinney Falls State Park.

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