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  • Writer's pictureKathleen Holyoak

"All I am, I owe to my mother."

Updated: May 6, 2021

The title for this blog is a quote from George Washington: "All I am, I owe to my mother."

Mother's day is a day set aside annually to celebrate motherhood, mother figures and to honor mothers who brought us into this world.

Abraham Lincoln said something very similiar: "All I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother."

Click the picture above then click tab to listen to "It's Mother's Day," from my children's album, KITCHEN PARADE.

Many years ago, the late Lawrence Lee sent me some beautiful lyircs written for Mother's Day which became the song, "Mother, You're an Angel." It was so sweet I decided to include it on my 2nd CD, "Angels on Tiptoe." That album includes songs that mention seen and unseen angels in our lives. Click the image below then click tab to listen the song, "Mother, You're an Angel."

Now that you've listened to two songs written specifically for Mother's Day, the teacher in me wants to share how the first Mother's Day came about.

The celebrations of mothers and motherhood can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, who held festivals in honour of the mother goddesses Rhea, Hilaria and Cybele. But in modern times, Mother’s Day was rooted in the early Christian festival known as “Mothering Sunday" in the UK.

Rhea, goddess of fertility

The first Mother's Day in the US was celebrated May 9, 1914, when President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating Mother's Day on the 2nd Sunday in May as a national holiday to honour mothers.

However, this national public holiday would have never come about without the efforts of Anna Jarvis from Philadelphia.

Anna Jarvis

Anna's campaign to make Mother's Day a recognized holiday first started in 1905, the year her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis died.

She wanted to remember not only her own mother but all mothers.

Anna's mother had been a peace activist who cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the American Civil War and created Mother’s Day Work Clubs to address public health issues for a peaceful celebration.

Many other women such as Julia Ward Howe, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Elizabeth Smith also fought for peace and encouraged mothers to speak out.

Kathleen with puppy, Toodles.

When I was a little girl, I remember singing the song entitled "MOTHER," recorded by Eddy Arnold and published in 1915. Reviewing the words brought back some very happy memories growing up in Boise, Idaho.

"M" is for the million things she gave me.

"O" means only that she's growing old.

"T" is for the tears she shed to save me.

"H" is for her heart of purest gold.

"E" is for her eyes with love-light shining.

"R" means right and right she'll always be.

Put them all together they spell MOTHER,

a word that means the world to me.

Another song I also remember is "That Wonderful Mother of Mine" published in 1918.

Some interesting facts about Mother's Day in the US:

1) Mother's Day isn't always on the same date each year.

2) More calls are made on Mother's Day than any other day of the year.

3) Approximately123 million calls are made on the second Sunday of May.

4) Mother's Day is the third highest selling holiday for flowers and plants.

5) The most commonly used flowers on Mothers Day is the traditional carnation and have a special meaning: a red carnation if she is living and a white if she has passed.

6) The first thing a baby can vocalize is the 'ma' sound, which is why in almost every language the word for mother begins with the letter 'M' or is some iteration of the 'ma' sound.

7) Most United States women have their first child in their twenties.

Carnations, traditional flower for Mothers

Mother's Day is celebrated all over the world.

Mother’s Day in Uganda is not a national holiday but will be celebrated May 10, 2020 as a special day to honour motherhood and celebrate mothers, living and dead, as well as other influential motherlike figures.

Mother’s Day in France looks very similar to the U.S. Cards and flowers are bestowed and family dinners are held on the fourth Sunday in May.

Mother's Day in Sweden is not a public holiday but falls this year on Sunday, May 31.

Mother's Day in Israel is considered a

secular holiday and was celebrated February 15th, 2020. There used to be two Mother's days celebrated in Israel: one in Haifa and one in the rest of the country.

In South Africa, Mother's Day will be celebrated May 10 or the 2nd Sunday in May. In addition to the countries already listed, Canada, Costa Rica, Samoa, Georgia, Australia, and Thailand all have designated celebrations to honor their country's mothers. In India, people celebrate Durga-puja, a festival that pays homage to the mother goddess, Durga. The festival is a ten-day event that takes place around September or October.

In honor of Mother's Day, please meet some special mothers who have helped me to become who I am.

My mother, Harriet A. Wood
My mother-in-law, Clea Holyoak
Marjorie Lee, wife of Lawrence Lee, Lyricist

Marjorie Lee became an adopted mother to me during the years Larry and I were writing together. She was a very intelligent woman with a memory like an elephant and always had something witty to say.

In 2008, Larry published a 127 page book for his family of her quotes and I was privileged to receive a copy.

From the FORWARD:

Over a lifetime, Grandma Margie has developed a large string of words and phrases that make up a part of her personality. Many of these witty lines bring back fond memories of times and events in our 62 years of marriage. I hope you will find a few to jolly up your day or give pause and reflection. Larry Lee

From Marjorie: "Pimples and rashes have turned into wrinkles and hot flashes!"

"Middle age: the time when the narrow waist and the broad mind begin to change places."

I am grateful for four wonderful daughters who are not only beautiful, hard-working, independent women but most importantly, dedicated mothers to our 15 grandchildren.

The Holyoak Family

"A mother holds her children's hand for a while but their hearts forever!"

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May 07, 2020

Dear Kathy!

I love your post about mothers. I love the picture of you, Garth and the girls. My goodness what a lovely family!!!

I hope you have a wonderful mother's day!!! This quarantine does restrict what we can do, but enjoy it anyway!!

As you know, my dear, you are most dear to me!

Much love,


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