Sunday, May 9, 2010

To Mother, With Love

Magnet # 237:  Huntsville Space Rocket

Material:  Wood, Metal

Purchased By:  Dad

Well, I hope you've all made your purchases of flowers, cards, and whatever else you needed to buy because today is Mother's Day and it's a little late now if you haven't.  Also, I hope you are all lucky enough to have wonderful mothers worthy of recognition and praise.  I know I do.

Celebrations honoring mothers date all the way back to ancient Greece and Rome.  The Greeks honored Cybele, a much-loved mother goddess, with an annual celebration called Hilaria that fell around the Vernal Equinox, while the Romans recognized the queen and mother of their gods, Juno, at Matronalia, and they even gave presents to their mothers at this time.  Later, Mothering Sunday was adopted by some of the Christian denominations to honor the Virgin Mary and their "mother" churches.  Domestic servants were usually given the day off then so that they might visit their own mothers and family - it might be the only opportunity they had to see them all year, and they often picked flowers for them on their way.  But when settlers came over to America, they stopped recognizing Mothering Sunday due to lack of time.  The Mother's Day we all celebrate didn't come around until Anna Jarvis took up the cause in the early 1900s in the United States.  There had been proponents before her, like Julia Ward Howe, in the previous century, but Jarvis was able to accomplish what they could not.  She had lost her own mother, Ann Jarvis, and two years later in 1907, she held the first Mother's Day in her honor and set out to make it an international holiday.  Her hard work paid off - West Virginia was the first state to make Mother's Day an official holiday in 1910 and four years later, Congress had passed a law establishing it as the second Sunday of May, when Jarvis' beloved mother had passed away.  President Woodrow Wilson heeded their request to proclaim the holiday the next day, and encouraged Americans to fly their flags in honor of the mothers who had lost their sons in war.  Sadly, in less than a decade, Jarvis turned on the holiday, furious with what she saw as greed and profit overtaking the genuine sentiment of the occasion.  In her opinion, only a single white carnation and hand-written letter were necessary.  She thought that those who bought cards were too lazy to compose their own notes and even lashed out against the holiday in 1948.  She was arrested and later passed away that year, still regretting all of her efforts to spread the holiday around the world.  But I think there really is value in this recognition of the women who have birthed and raised us and all of the sacrifices they've made for us.  And, from the looks of it, I'm not alone.  Mother's Day is now celebrated by millions of families in over 40 countries.

So just what does Huntsville, Alabama, famous for it's Marshall Space Flight Center, have to do with Mother's Day?  Well, if you ask me, it's the site of one of my Mom's finest moments.  In junior high, my science class took a field trip to the space center there and my Mom signed up to chaperon.  Considering most of the moms who accompanied us were of the stay-at-home variety and my Mom, a full-time worker, took off from her job to go with us, that was a pretty big sacrifice in my book.  She rarely was able to join me on my class trips, and I was glad to have her along that time.  But she really shone through when our guide brought us to this NASA contraption that astronauts use to train.  It prepares them for space travel by spinning them upside down, sideways, and all over the place at a pretty rapid pace.  Of course, plenty of my classmates wanted to take it for a spin, but we were told that only one of the adults could try it.  And not one of them stepped forward.  However, when my Mom realized that all of the kids were going to miss out on seeing someone spin around in it, she volunteered to do so, even though she really didn't want to.  And as she whirled around in every possible direction, her loving daughter took photos.  Yes, I still have them.  They remind me of just what a great Mom I have.  Sure, I've had plenty of other examples over the years, but this one in particular sticks out in my mind.  Thanks, Mom - you're the best!

Well, I hope all of the moms out there have a nice time with their families today.  Most species have mothers that are devoted to their young, but human moms are pretty much the only variety that look after their offspring even after they're adults, and that makes them truly special.  Our moms make a lifetime commitment to us and this is a great opportunity to thank them for that.

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for the kind words.
    Mom

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  2. I've only been twice, but both times were some of my favorite memories as a kid. :-)

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  3. Thanks for being such a great Mom!

    Yes, it was a fun place to visit. I think I went there a few times when I was growing up. Never got a magnet, but I did try astronaut ice cream!

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