It’s the apostrophe that changes everything. If it did not exist at all (or had just been moved one letter to the right) then it would seem this day would be about motherhood and the contributions and sacrifices mothers have made. I don’t think it’s an oversight that the possessive does not appear for Veterans Day. Veterans as a group we can understand. We all know it’s not about one person in that case. Why is this day different? Why is it personal?
Anna Jarvis from West Virginia came up with the idea back in 1908 and spent the rest of her life appalled by its almost immediate commercialization. In 1868 her mother, Ann Jarvis, had organized “Mothers’ Friendship Day,” (note the apostrophe placement) at which mothers gathered with former Union and Confederate soldiers to promote reconciliation.
What do I know? I took the easy way out and got the card, sent the flowers, made the call. If I was near her I would take her to brunch and listen to her complain about the slow service and just how well my brother David was doing (it was slow; he was and is doing well – he bought her a house and I sent her a card – who would be your favorite?).
She is gone now and I miss her. I wished I had listened more. I think, really, that is a mothers want today. Just listen. And not just for one day. OK – yes, also maybe a house. Thanks for that high bar, David.
A long time ago I wrote a song about mothers: “I Love my Mom”. It’s not about my mother. I would never call her Mom! It’s about “Moms” , a wholly different species than “Mother”.
A few years ago 10 year old Emma Henderson recorded and then made this video: