On May 8, 1914 that President Woodrow Wilson (Yes, the president that jailed women for wanting the vote…) declared Mother’s Day a national holiday in the United States. Of course it was 44 years prior that Julia Ward Howe made her Mother’s Day Proclamation in 1870. Here is an excerpt from Howe’s proclamation:
Arise then…women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
“We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause…
Whereby the great human family can live in peace…
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God –
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.
Really a lovely quote by Howe. Now I would like to share a personal memory that is just a small reminder of why I love and honor my mom.
When I was 16 years old and my mom was teaching me to drive in her 1979 red Thunderbird — a car that seemed like it was a mile long — I was determined to get my drivers license, as it was a status symbol of adulthood, a right of passage.
When it came time to take my driving test, I was quite nervous and anxious. The woman who came out to administer the driving test was quite intimidating to me. She was well over 6 feet tall and probably twice my size. The driving test did not go well. The examiner was laconic and rather unpleasant, which just added to my anxiety. Sadly, I did not pass my driver’s test.
On the way home, I was mortified and in tears. My mom reached over and touched my arm and said: “We don’t have to tell anyone. You can just keep practicing and take the test again.” That moment just made me love my mom. It took off the pressure and while I was still exceedingly disappointed in myself, I was no longer devastated.
Adolescence was a very difficult time for me, and my mom was the only friend I had. I was quite unattractive. I was very skinny, had wild hair that was out of control, and suffered terrible acne. I had such bad acne that there were days I could not bear going to school and enduring the ridicule of my peers. Being skinny with bad hair, horrific acne, and the fear that I was gay was almost too my for me at times. My mom allowing me stay at home a couple of days because of my acne was the tonic I needed to just survive.
I don’t think we can underestimate the power of moms. When I think back to moments throughout childhood, I am grateful for my mom. Happy Mother’s Day.