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85.4 million Mothers are waiting to hear from you

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image Just a reminder: Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 13. Mitch Traphagen Photos

It is the thought that counts...

By Mitch Traphagen

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 85.4 million mothers living in the United States. Chances are, one of them is yours and she’s waiting to hear from you. Sunday, May 13, is Mother’s Day.

Fortunately for the children of all those mothers, the Census Bureau also provides a possible Mother’s Day gift buying solution — the continually-counting numbers organization also states that there are 17,124 florist establishments nationwide. Additionally, 11,044 Americans are busy working at the nation’s 99 greeting card businesses to have enough Mother’s Day cards to go with the flowers. Are you thinking bigger?  Not to worry, there are 24,973 jewelry stores in the U.S.

While the importance of Mother’s Day remains eternal, motherhood itself has changed over the years. Today, 10 million moms are single, compared to 3.4 million in 1970. Nearly 55 percent of mothers who gave birth in 2010 are currently in the labor force, which is down slightly from 57 percent in 2008. And speaking of new mothers, there are four million women who gave birth in the last 12 months producing 4.13 million children. In 2008, the average age for a first birth was 25.1 years old. Nearly 410,000 children were born to teenage mothers.

The celebration of mothers and motherhood can be traced back to ancient Roman and Greek traditions and is today celebrated around the world, although on different dates. In most Arab countries, it is celebrated on March 21, from the idea of an Egyptian journalist in 1943.

In the United States, the holiday can technically be traced back to when Julia Ward Howe, social activist and author of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, first issued her Mother’s Day Proclamation in 1870 as a call for women to join in support of disarmament. The idea of a holiday for mothers, however, didn’t take off until Anna Jarvis of West Virginia began promoting it, in her own mother’s memory, as the second Sunday in May in 1908. Jarvis kept promoting it until President Woodrow Wilson made it an official national holiday in 1914. Jarvis passed away in 1948 with regrets over how commercial the holiday had become.

But then again, it is the thought that counts, and Sunday is undeniably the day to be thinking about moms. If a few roses or some diamond earrings accompany the thought, there’s probably no harm in that. Besides, according to author J. Ellsworth Kalas in the book, Preaching the Calendar: Celebrating Holidays and Holy Days, Mother’s Day is behind only Christmas and Easter when it comes to church attendance. The important thing is to celebrate mothers — especially yours.

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