Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The 100th Anniversary of Mother’s Day by Denise Devine

One hundred years ago, Anna Jarvis created the special event we know as Mother’s Day. That’s right—Hallmark Cards did not invent this holiday, but they have certainly helped to keep it alive. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson declared it a national holiday and by the 1920s, Hallmark and other companies began to produce Mother’s Day cards.
Ironically, Anna Jarvis, didn’t have a husband or children, but she came up with the idea from a remark her mother made about how it would be nice to honor all mothers with a memorial. Flowers, candy and breakfast at a local restaurant after church, however, wasn’t Anna’s idea of a mother’s day tribute. She felt that a white carnation should signify honoring a mother’s love. She didn’t approve of how the holiday became such a commercial cash cow for retailers, and felt that mothers deserved better gifts than store-bought items.
Hmm….I like gift cards, myself.

 The last time we took my mom, Lois, out for Mother’s Day we arranged it as a girls-only social event. She had a blast. About ten of us took her to a fancy buffet at a country club and spent a couple hours doing what girls do—chatting, gossiping and laughing. Little did we know that this was the last time we’d celebrate with her as she died a couple weeks later. I’ll always be grateful that her last Mother’s Day was a memorable one. This picture of her is at approximately age 18.
While writing this piece, my daughter called and asked what I wanted to do for my Mother’s Day celebration. I’m thinking that breakfast and a trip to the garden center to look at perennials for my yard would make my day. And maybe a white carnation.
What about you? What plans are you making for your mom on Mother’s Day? If she’s not with you any more, like mine, tell us your fondest memories of her.

Denise Devine has had a passion for books since the second grade when she discovered Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. She wrote her first book, a mystery, at age thirteen and has been writing ever since. She's been a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA) since 1991 and has won or placed in numerous writing contests. Her latest book is a contemporary inspirational titled “This Time Forever” and is available in both digital and print formats.


  1. Mother's Day is still a time of optimism for me, although everyone in my family knows Mom's days with us are limited now. We'll be making the drive to see her and make her day special.

  2. How wonderful to have spent such a rich day with her before she died. I didn't know the history of Mother's Day. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I had an argument with a professor in a Women Studies class in college--she thought it was a "made up" holiday and made me prove it. So I did. She offered to give me additional academic credits if I wrote a paper on it--right before graduation. Had to tell her no. Eventually, it evolved to using white carnations for remembering deceased mothers, and pink or red for those who are alive.

    My mother, also a Lois, lives too far away for me to visit, so I'll send her flowers--her birthday and wedding anniversary are a few days later. She'll get some other gifts, too.

    1. I meant--she made me prove it was a real holiday. It's a national holiday through presidential proclamation, not a federal holiday through law--act of Congress.

  4. I've lost both my mother and mother-in-law, my mother-in-law most recently. They were two strong, but very different women who lived their last decades as widows. I wish my mom could have lived to see her granddaughters grow into beautiful and successful women. Thanks for sharing the history of Mothers Day.

  5. What a lovely post. And what lovely memories you have of that last Mother's Day with your dear mom.

    I always sent a card and a big bouquet to met mom, once I married and moved away, but it was rare to ever be with her on that day with our kids in school.

    This Mothjer's Day, I will be flying to New Orleans with my married daughter a few days in advance of the RT Convention. We are using those days so we can scout out real estate in the Bay St Louis, Waveland, and Pass Christian areas. She and her dh have a short term apartment arranged, but will be looking for a house to buy...and will be moving south four days after Emily and I get back from RT. Adventures, and busy times! This might be the last Mother's Day when we can be together, but it will be memorable: she wants to take me to Commander's Palace for lunch.

  6. My mother passed away when I was a teen. One of my fondest memories is of her singing, a capella, in harmony with two of her sisters. Their voices were beautiful and angelic. I remember tearing up and breaking out in goose flesh from the emotion in their songs.

  7. I didn't realize it was 100 years this year. Cool!

  8. Our mothers day in the UK is in March, so it's been and gone already. We celebrated with a big family meal at a local restaurant. We usually do something like this. My two sisters and I all bought Mum flowers as we know she loves them, and cards of course. My son gave me flowers and my daughter a card.

  9. What a lovely post. And what a special memory to have of your last Mother's Day with your mom.