Hoping for lots of hugs, smiles this Sunday

Published 5:00 am Friday, May 11, 2001

“God could not be everywhere and therefore he made mothers.” –Jewish Proverb.

Sunday is Mother’s Day.

In case you haven’t done so already, you still have some time toplan something special for your mom. Don’t forget.

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I read something the other day that said the custom of honoringmothers began thousands of years ago. Myths were created by peopleas they wove wonderful stories about goddesses who moved the sunacross the sky and twinkled the stars at night. Sounds like thework of moms to me.

The custom we will observe Sunday is generally credited to AnnaJarvis, who was born in 1864 in Grafton, West Virginia. The storygoes that Anna grew up listening to her own mother long for areconciliation of families split apart by the Civil War. Surely, aday set aside to honor mothers would bring an end to the fightingand hatred.

Although her mother didn’t live to see her dream come tofruition, Anna took up the cause. The minister at her churchconducted a Mother’s Day service on May 12, 1907, and it isconsidered the first.

Anna continued to push for a national observance, and on May 9,1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill declaring the secondSunday in May as Mother’s Day in the U.S.

“All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in lifeto the moral, intellectual and physical education I received fromher.” — George Washington.

Did you know that there are about 35 million mothers in theUnited States? That’s what the U.S. Census Bureau says.

Here’s some more mom info:

* 81 percent of all women between the ages of 40 and 44 aremothers.

* Those women have given birth to an average of 1.9 childreneach. (I’m still trying to decide who’s the .9 in my family.)

* 10 percent of those women have four or more children.

* 24.5 is the median age for first-time mothers.

* Of all the births in this country in the year 1998, 40 percentwere to first-time moms.

* In 1997, 25,000 births nationwide did not occur inhospitals.

* The odds of giving birth to twins are 1-in-35; for triplets,it’s 1-in-520.

* 59 percent of the 3.7 million moms with infants under the ageof one are in the work force. This is a record high for the UnitedStates.

* 9.8 million is the number of single mothers in thiscountry.

* 17 percent of those single moms are raising three or morechildren.

* $212 million was the value of the Mother’s Day cards shippedin 1997. (That tops Easter, $116 million, but is behind Valentine’sDay, $277 million, and Christmas, $571 million.)

“The mother’s heart is the child’s schoolroom.” — Henry WardBeecher.

Special portions of our Sunday newspaper will be devoted tomoms. I got a sneak peak at one that features photographs.

Moms with sons.

Moms with daughters.

Moms with sons and daughters.

Some resemble; the same eyes, nose, hair or smile. Some don’t;maybe this particular apple fell closer to dad’s family tree.

Young moms, proudly showing off their new babe or toddler.

Older moms with their grown children.

Some of the pictures are posed; some are candid.

Hugs, lots of hugs, and even more smiles.

I hope there are even more hugs and smiles Sunday.

“Youth fades; love droops, the leaves of friendship fall; Amother’s secret hope outlives them all.” — Oliver WendallHolmes.

Happy Mother’s Day.