It’s Mother’s Day. When Anna Jarvis trademarked the name in 1912, it is said that she specifically wanted it to be singular, rather than plural. Her intent was that individual Mothers would be celebrated, not all of the Mothers in the world.*
I don’t have the imagination to think of each individual Mother in the world. For that matter, this is not a holiday celebrated in all parts of the world. Even where celebrated, it isn’t always on the same day as here in the U.S. In my heart, though, I can embrace a segment of that population of mothers, those who live in extreme poverty (on less than $1.25 per day. Of the one billion people who will live in extreme poverty in 2015, my heart is open today to those who are mothers.
Although I don’t want to imagine being a mother who cannot feed her children and I can’t contemplate having my child die because I can’t buy medicine or pay a doctor, I can care about those mothers. I can be grateful that I didn’t have to be the child who couldn’t feed my ailing or aged mother.
It’s all too unthinkable, isn’t it?
Even less do I want to think of receiving a gift today. All I is need is your love. I don’t want a vase, or flowers to put into it. I don’t want a sweater or a plant from the nursery. Don’t buy me a mother’s ring or a necklace commemorating yours or your children’s birth.
Instead, if you must honor me with a gift, please open your heart to the mothers of the world. Send a check. Choose your favorite charity and alleviate a child’s hunger. Support health coverage for a family. Provide education to create sustainable change.
You can be smart about it. There are many organizations that rate non- profits: Charity Watch, Charity Navigator, Give Well, for a few. Or just know the people involved with the charities you support. See how they move through the world and you will know how their foundations work.
As you honor the world of mothers, I feel your love for me.
Originally published May 8, 2014