One of the greatest blessings to us all is the love of our mothers.
I lost my mother seven years ago. It is still painful to think of that day. There has been a big hole in my heart ever since. I lost the one person in the world who loved me unconditionally.
I also lost a fundamental connection to the world. I came from her body. Now her body is gone.
For those who still have their mothers, take Mother’s Day seriously. Their sacrifice is beyond measure. Let them know how much it means to you.
I watch my wife Ginny constantly sacrifice her time, energy and emotional well-being for our children. It is amazing. I’m not sure a man can ever understand the power of the maternal instinct.
I have occasionally battled the maternal instinct when I believed my children needed to be more accountable for their actions and stand on their own two feet. It is a formidable adversary and rarely defeated.
I can remember the millions of things my mother did for me without a second thought. At the time, I took it for granted, but now that she is gone, her love and kindness seems overwhelming.
I am grateful I had her long enough to have the maturity to thank her many, many times for what she had done. And I am grateful I had the chance to take care of her in her last few years and repay just an iota of what she gave to me. Her last words to me were, “You are the greatest son a mother could ever have.” All I did was get her a Burger King plain cheeseburger.
Mother’s Day is a relatively new holiday, starting around 1910. We can thank Anna Marie Jarvis of West Virginia for that. Wikipedia states: “Her mother had frequently expressed a desire for the establishment of such a holiday, and after her mother's death, Jarvis led the movement for the commemoration. However, as the years passed, Jarvis grew disenchanted with the growing commercialization of the observation (she herself did not profit from the day) and even attempted to have Mother's Day rescinded. Jarvis argued that people should appreciate and honor their mothers through handwritten letters expressing their love and gratitude, instead of buying gifts and pre-made cards. She died in a sanitarium, her medical bills paid by people in the floral and greeting card industries.
Initially, Congress rejected the holiday. One Congressman joked that it would soon lead to the establishment of a Mother-in-Law’s Day.
In 1914, Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating Mother's Day, held on the second Sunday in May, as a national holiday to honor mothers.
Mother-in-Law’s Day never happened, but after decades of fits and starts, in 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers, designating the third Sunday in June as Father's Day. Congress resisted all those decades because they feared excessive commercialization.
My father didn’t like all the Mother’s Day commercialization and used that as an excuse one year not to get his mother a card. “I’ll never make that mistake again,” he advised me on many occasions.
Mother’s Day is also an opportunity to point out a rather monumental demographic development occurring in our state, country and world: There are fewer and fewer mothers.
In the U.S. births are exceeding deaths by a mere million births a year. At that rate, the U.S. will only grow three percent every decade. And the number of births minus deaths continues to decline rapidly. The U.S. will soon quit replacing its population without immigration.
Countries constituting half the population of the world are below the replacement rate, including all of China and Europe. Indeed, if current trends continue, the entire world population will start to shrink in a few decades.
This trend is clear in Mississippi. White deaths have exceeded births for the last three years. Black births are still exceeding deaths, but the downward trend is just as rapid as the white population. Looking at the trend line, Mississippi could have more deaths than births within five years.
Development is driving this trend. The highest population growth is in the poor countries and vice versa. In poor countries, a child is another field hand. In America, children are estimated to cost $220,000 to raise.
But don’t despair. One major study indicated that a high level of affluence can positively affect fertility rates. If you have a whole lot of money, you can afford more children.
All this just goes to show we need to appreciate our mothers even more. They are growing shorter in supply. When we watch how much they sacrifice, it’s no wonder!