Honoring mothers

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 6, 2003

"Created" holidays often leave a bad taste in one's mouth, especially as they tend to be taken over by the card companies and blown out of proportion, pandering for your hard-earned dollar while playing on your sentimentality.

Mother's Day, created in 1872 by Julia Ward Howe, could well fit that category if not for the fact that, well, it's about Mom. The day was first made a national holiday in the earlier part of the century with Anna Jarvis the driving force. By 1911, almost every state observed it.

But the celebration of mothers goes back to the dawn of civilization, with earlier societies recognizing the nurturing role women play in creating and teaching the next generation.

It is appropriate that Mother's Day, this Sunday, falls at the same time of the year as Teacher Appreciation Week in the United States

- not because the majority of teachers are women, but because the majority of mothers are teachers. Perhaps not in a classroom, but from the very beginning of an infant's life, the mother is teaching everything from how to hold a spoon to the difference between right and wrong.

This nurturing is by no means limited to birth mothers, or even legal guardians. Grandmothers, in many cases, step in to help, carrying the wisdom down to yet another genereation. Foster parents and stepmothers have an especially difficult role to play.

So the big greeting card companies play on our sentimental urge to honor our mothers - let them.

Sometimes we need a reminder, even if it is just a commercial, to say the things we need to say.

Remember Mom this Sunday. There doesn't have to be a fancy card or expensive gift - just a "thank you"for the love and support" she has supplied throughout the years.