Mother's Day is an American holiday that seems to be embedded in our culture. While many call it a "Hallmark Holiday," Mother's Day initially was born from the idea that mothers who lost sons in the Civil War should band together in their sorrow and rally for peace. It finally became a national holiday with the passing of a new bill and a proclamation from President Woodrow Wilson in 1914.
The holiday caught on quickly and white carnations became the popular gift of choice, prompting the Florists Review business journal to print an article in 1923 saying that Mother's Day was "a holiday that could be exploited." Last year, the flower industry made 2.66 billion dollars in sales from Mother's Day gifts.
This year will mark the 100th anniversary of Mother's Day, and according to Hallmark, retailers report it as the second highest gift giving holiday of the year behind Christmas, with more than 85 percent of the American population choosing to honor and recognize their mother on the second Sunday in May. In 2013 alone, the Mother's Day gift industry raked in over 17.06 billion dollars in overall sales. The top three gift industries for Mother's Day 2013? Jewelry, special outings (like the movies or dinner), and flowers.
For Mother's Day 2014, I asked my fellow Medical Guardian employees to honor the role their mothers have played in their lives without spending a dime. I was always creative as a child and every year for Mother's Day I made my mom photo collages, construction paper cards, or poems in her honor. Taking a cue from my younger self, I've gathered a collection of my coworkers' favorite memories of their mothers below. Even though each memory is unique, there's a universal truth in all of them that speaks to the power of motherhood -- a small moment in time can add up to a lifetime of unconditional love.
"Watching my mom as a keynote speaker at the March on Washington for women's rights is the most amazing memory. Seeing her speak in in front of the White House to over a million people, listening to her message -- I was in awe of her!!" Ellen Walker, Life Safety Representative
"My mom is my rock. No matter what the need -- a Band-Aid, a little extra help with bills, lemon pound cake, or a shoulder to cry on -- she's always there in two seconds flat and willing to do whatever it takes to help. Through thick and thin, and even during my obnoxious, self-appointed years (read: teenage girl), she gave her all and did everything to make sure I was safe, happy, and loved. My mom is my best friend, biggest supporter, and the most amazingly strong woman, and I'm not sure I'll ever be able to thank her enough for all that she has done and continues to do. Love you to the moon and back, mom!" Paige Coho, Affiliate Marketing Manager
"My mom died when I was 7, but I still remember sitting behind her and combing her long red hair." Patrick Leonard, Life Safety Representative
"I have two favorite memories of my mom: holiday cookies and her body cream with the gold cap. Every Christmas she would pull out her 100 piece cookie press contraption and go to work for hours in the kitchen. It's probably the reason I love to bake now. I also vividly remember this lotion she used to use that came in a variety of different colors but always had the same gold cap. I don't know if they sell it anymore but I remember always thinking she was so luxurious!" Jamille Williams, Director of Customer Service
"My favorite memory with my mom is baking a carrot cake on a snow day and eating the whole cake by the time night came." Emily Rickel, Director of Human Resources
"By far, it was whenever she told me that I was her favorite. Years later I would find out she did the same to my brother and sister, but she told us each to keep it a secret. Now, I do the same to all of my children and grandchildren." Harry Merlino, Life Safety Representative
"I would have to say that the best memory I have of my mother is from two years ago when we did our first Mud Run. My mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2009. My favorite memory is of watching my mother cross the finish line. It was just symbolic of the way that she lives her life. When you are presented with a barrier in your life, you overcome it. Watching her cross that finish line made me so proud of her and all of the things she has accomplished in her life. I'm proud to call that warrior my mom!" Ashley Griffin, Administrative Assistant
"The best memory I have of my mom was on the day I graduated from college. Seeing her standing there so proud and crying tears of joy will always be something I will cherish forever. I was the first person on both my parents' sides to graduate from college. My mom never even finished high school and it was her dream to do both. She made me feel like I did that for both of us. My mom's the greatest." Michael Ferraro, Life Safety Representative
"I think it was a lesson I learned from her. After I had accidentally pulled the fire alarm in my elementary school in first grade, she said, 'Good people learn from their mistakes.'" Michael Geller, Finance Manager
"Playing canasta at the dinner table while catching up on life." Matt Guerrieri, Digital Marketing Manager
In honor of your mother this Mother's Day, I'm inviting you to leave your favorite memory in the comments below, or share it with us on Twitter: @MedicalGuardian