Did you know Mother’s Day was originally intended to be singular – hence the apostrophe after the “r”? In 1905, Anna Jarvis wanted to commemorate her own mother, who died that year. Mama Jarvis, or Anna Reeves Jarvis, took care of injured soldiers during the Civil War – on both sides of the line. After the war ended, she organized a “Mothers’ Friendship Day,” which worked at bringing together and healing the rift between former Confederate and Union soldiers by having them get together – with their mothers.
The daughter campaigned to have the day officially recognized. In 1908, she held a public memorial for Mama Jarvis in Grafton, West Virginia. It was the first big celebration for Mother’s Day. The idea gained momentum, and, in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson made the second Sunday of May the official celebration of Mother’s Day.
This year, mothers around the world will be spending the day alone, locked down as we are, due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Others will be surrounded by their little ones who have been home from school for the past couple of months, and many more moms will be struggling to find a way to put food on the table after months without work. And then there are those moms considered essential employees, working on the “front lines,” while the rest of the population grumbles about binge-watching Netflix and needing a haircut and manicure. Some mothers are in lockdown at care facilities, only allowed to wave at their children through an impersonal glass door barrier.
But this Mother’s Day isn’t to be swamped in sadness. This day, let us also celebrate the courageous moms – like Mama Jarvis – who have changed our way of life for the better.
A Fighting Texas Mama
Lockdown for the pandemic crisis has taken a lot of our freedoms and liberties, but moms are fighting back. To see the trend beginning, we only need to think of Shelley Luther. The Texas salon owner opened her business before the local government said she could, and for that, she was sentenced to jail and ordered to pay a fine. District Court Judge Eric Moyé was incensed when the working mother said she was going to open her business because she had to feed her children. He held her in contempt of court for refusing to apologize to His Honor.
Luther’s plight caught the attention of powerful politicians, including Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, who offered to pay her $7,000 fine. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) even went to her salon to have his hair cut and posted on Twitter: “7 days in jail for cutting hair?? This is NUTS. And government officials don’t get to order citizens to apologize to them for daring to earn a living.”
One of the most dangerous animals in the wild is a mama bear, ferocious about taking care of her young. Human mothers can be just as fierce and will defy a government to provide for their children. So, on this Mother’s Day, try not to be dejected while trapped in lockdown. Think of Luther, and others like her – maybe even yourself? – who continue to fight against the restrictions they feel are unfair and who are willing to make a sacrifice to fight for what they believe. This is what America is about, the freedom to celebrate, work, get an education, and fight for our rights.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Read more from Kelli Ballard.