Never was a day more suited to its subject than this day in May, Mother’s Day. It comes in the month of warming sun and blooming flower, a season when the bright, gentle and nurturing qualities of Mother Earth in spring reflect the year-round nature of Motherhood.
Mother’s Day honors the conceiving and caring power that guides life’s struggle first to become and then to become more. Thackeray in Vanity Fair captured that power well when he wrote, “Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children.” The same sentiment in a more practical sense is contained in the Jewish proverb, “God could not be everywhere and therefore he made mothers.”
And of that mother’s work, the 19th century poet Ann Taylor wrote:
“Who ran to help me, when I fell, / And would some pretty story tell, / Or kiss the place to make it well? / My Mother.”
Mother’s Day stands at the gateway leading to the peak of the flowering season. Despite the wide variety of blooms and beds of sweet violets underfoot, cultures worldwide have chosen the noble rose with its flower and its thorns to symbolize the beauty and the protectiveness of motherhood.
While we consider the celebration of maternal bonds as a relatively modern event, the origins appear with the much earlier Greek celebration known as the Cybele and the Roman celebration known as the Hilaria festival, both devoted to honoring the importance of motherhood.
Those who honor or fondly remember their mothers today know they are, as Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “what their mothers made them.”