Every year in the United States Mother’s Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May. A community activist named Anna Jarvis created the day out of love and respect for her own mother. With a lot of grit, Anna made sure Mother’s Day became an official holiday in 1914 when President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill officially honoring mothers, mother figures, and womanhood. (Go Anna!)
Following Anna’s sentiment, many of us have women in our lives that have molded us into the people we are. Some are biological mothers. Others are friends, aunts, sisters, teachers, mentors, and even women we have never met before. They are female pioneers that we quietly admire from afar. For the lessons they have taught us, we owe these women so much gratitude not only on Mother’s Day, but on all days.
Teaching us to respect nature, they are our grandmothers who tickled our backs on porches in the sticky Maryland summer heat listening to the crickets sing. Showing us the importance of being authentic, they are our mothers instructing us to give everyone we meet along the way at least 3 chances before forming an opinion, never letting outside influences and the status quo sway what we feel in our gut. Listening to us steadfastly, they are friends who are more like mothers and sisters who selflessly offer advice and counsel when they themselves are bearing their own burdens with health, family, and work.
Stemming from disparate backgrounds, something all of these women share in common is their impact on our lives. In varying ways, they have shared with us a piece of themselves and we have allowed these lessons learned to play out authentically in our own lives whether we know it or not. How we interpret and implement these lessons will impact the generations of people we come across on our own trek through life.
Anna was not pleased with the commercialization of Mother’s Day and spent much of the second part of her life fighting to have this federally recognized holiday abolished. Sympathizing with her grief over the matter, it does still make me smile to think of Anna’s perseverance. She was a woman who fiercely loved her own mother and deeply believed in the capability of women. With her relentlessness Anna has left a lasting legacy on the world and a recognition of women that is well deserved.
Cheers to Anna and cheers to all of the strong, courageous, impactful women in our lives who give us strength to do our best. After all, they have awakened in us a sense of urgency in which we should all carry lessons learned forward to benefit future generations of women with fire in their bellies like Anna.