Anna Jarvis, in memory of her mother, was the first person to organize a day to celebrate all mothers. She began a campaign to church, political, and educational leaders. Her vision was to celebrate mothers’ sacrifices in the middle of May, which would be close to the day we celebrate our sons’ sacrifices in war (Memorial Day was established in 1866). The first official celebration was May 10, 1908. President Woodrow Wilson gave it national recognition in 1914.
Where did the flower fiesta come into play? The carnation was the official flower of Mother’s Day, as it was Anna’s mother’s favorite flower. Strangely (especially considering the way this holiday has expanded to be a card-giving, flower-sharing, and restaurant extravaganza), Anna lobbied against the floral industry because she did not want anyone to profit from her holiday. She originally intended it to be a religious celebration. To cement (pardon the dental pun) its place in the hearts and minds of the gift givers, the Society of American Florists coined the phrase “Say it with Flowers” in 1918, four years after the holiday went national. Did you know that Mother’s Day is the fourth-largest card-giving holiday? It’s grown from its intended quiet celebration to a mass of commercialism.
As a mother, I appreciate the simple things. We do not go out to dinner on Mother’s Day - the restaurants are way too busy and the service is not always up to standard. But I do believe in a family gathering. With our children moving on with their lives, I appreciate the time we are able to spend together. Those of you with little ones may not understand the weight of that statement yet because of your hectic lives, but believe me: You will appreciate every minute you spend with your children when they become older.
Here’s to all the mothers of the world: the new ones, the expecting ones, and those like me who have had much experience and many wonderful memories. Here is to our mothers, whose love and support were evident throughout our educations and beyond, and here is to the mothers like mine, who are no longer with us, but are missed each day. They all gave us gifts that we use to this day. We honor them all.
Here are some other areas of awareness this month (four serious and one I could not pass up): Stroke Awareness Month, www.stroke.org, Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month, www.nof.org, Skin Cancer Awareness Month, www.cancer.org, May 31 is World No Tobacco Day, www.who.int/tobacco/en/, and May 15 is National Chocolate Chip Day, www.candyusa.org/Classroom/calendar.asp.
With warm regards,
Sheri B. Doniger, DDS
Dr. Doniger is the editor of Woman Dentist Journal.
We welcome letters to the editor. Please e-mail your letters to Dr. Doniger at [email protected]. Include your name and the city and state where you practice.