A proclamation establishing a national Mother's Day was signed by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914, which means a few people may have a vague memory of a time when Mother's Day didn't exist.
In the 1940s and 1950s--the primary years of my childhood--Mother's Day was celebrated at home and in church, which a majority of people attended back then, at least in my hometown.
It wasn't lavish, but it was heartfelt. Little gifts at breakfast in my family, where only my dad, my mom and I were there. Then, before church, my dad went out to his rose garden and picked red roses, pink roses and white roses. Red and pink, the stems tacked to the shoulder with a straight pin, went to those with living mothers. White went to people with no living mother. Dad would clip as many extra as he had, sometimes a couple of 3-pound coffee cans filled with water and roses, and take them to church with a packet of straight pins for parishioners who didn't have flowers in the garden. The preacher would recognize the oldest mother, the one with the most children and the mother with the youngest child. Then home for Sunday dinner with both my grandmothers and my grandaddy and my uncle. The rest of the day was relaxed and happy, and usual.
I remember the sprigs of red and white roses at church for men, women and children into the '60s, and even the '70s. Then it kind of died out.
While it is not a National Holiday, meaning a day off, it is a really popular holiday. I know a few men who get horsy about recognizing "the wife" instead of just their own mothers, but not many. The fact is, it is a joyful part of the marriage and their love for each other when men have a good wife who is also a great mother.
I celebrate my daughter-in-law, who not only is a wonderful wife but a great mother to my granddaughters. I celebrate her, and give thanks to my son for marrying this wonderful person. She deserves celebrating. Her daughters think so, too.
This year, we'll celebrate at their house with standing rib roast and loaded baked potatoes, and a friend has sent me my old recipe for kahlua chocolate cheesecake, which I will make tomorrow. My younger son will be there, too. A feast, but nothing lasting, except the memories and laughter.
Works for me.