Mother’s Day is a celebration honoring the mother figure in a family as well as motherhood itself.  Celebrated on different days in different parts of the world, in the US it is celebrated the 2nd Sunday of May.  The modern American holiday had its origins in response to the Civil War, with peace activist and suffragette Julia Ward Howe, the writer of The Battle Hymn of the Republic, urging in 1870 the creation of a “Mother’s Day For Peace” to promote peaceful solutions to disagreements and disputes so that husbands and sons would no longer be killed in wars. 

Anna Jarvis, another peace activist and suffragette, almost 40 years later in 1907 organized the first Mother’s Day service of worship and celebration at Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, WV, which today serves as the International Mother’s Day Shrine.  In 1910 West Virginia was the first state to observe Mother’s Day, and a year later all states observed the day, some declaring it a state holiday.   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.

By the early 1920s Hallmark Cards among other companies started selling Mother’s Day cards.  Not surprising, Jarvis believed that the companies had misinterpreted and exploited the idea of the day, and protested their commercialization of the holiday.  Regardless of her efforts, the holiday remains and flourishes, commercial or not.

Mother’s Day is the centerpiece of my blog this week – mothers, women from whom we were all born into this world.  Though not all mothers give birth.  Some are mother through adoption, fostering, or just serve as a mother figure.  But what is a mother figure?  Someone who nurtures us, cares for us, loves us, guides us, shaping our hearts, souls, and minds, often by placing our needs above hers.

Some famous mother quotes further suggest what embodies motherhood:

“All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”

abraham lincoln

“My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute my success in life to the moral, intellectual, and physical education I received from her.” 

George washington

“When you look into your mother’s eyes, you know that is the purest love you can find on this earth.” 

mitch albom

“A mother is she who can take the place of all others but whose place no one else can take.”

cardinal mermillod

“God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers.”

rudyard kipling

“A mother’s arms are made of tenderness and children sleep soundly in them.” 

Victor hugo

“The best place to cry is on a mother’s arms.”

jodi picoult

“Mama was my greatest teacher, a teacher of compassion, love, and fearlessness. If love is sweet as a flower, then my mother is that sweet flower of love.” 

Stevie wonder

“Mothers hold their children’s hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.” 

Unknown

The Spotify playlist started as a word playlist of songs containing the words Mother and Mama, such as Paul Simon’s “Mother & Child Reunion,” The Rolling Stones’ “Mother’s Little Helper,” John Lennon’s “Mother,” Pink Floyd’s “Mother,” Genesis’ “Mama,” Ozzy Ozbourne’s “Mama, I’m Coming Home,” Elton John’s “Mama Can’t Buy You Love,” Loggins & Messina’s “Your Mama Don’t Dance,” Three Dog Night’s “Mama Told Me Not To Come,” Abba’s “Mamma Mia,” the Shirelles’ “Mama Said,”    But given the theme, the playlist evolved to so much more.

The beginning of the playlist is songs in celebration of mothers and their significance in our lives.  Many of the songs contain Mother, Mom, or Mama in the title, but several do not.  The first 20 songs are truly a celebration of what mothers are and can be.  Several of my favorite American Idol alums are featured, including Kellie Pickler, Crystal Bowersox, Carrie Underwood, and Lauren Alaina.  I’ll let the lyrics of some of these beautiful songs about mom do the talking:

What I Never Knew I Always Wanted – Carrie Underwood

Never was the kind to think about dressing in white
Wasn’t waiting on a prince to come riding into my life
Thought I was happy on my own
‘Til you came and proved me wrong

I finally found what I never knew I always wanted
I couldn’t see, I was blind ’til my eyes were opened
I didn’t know there was a hole
Something missing in my soul
‘Til you filled it up with your love, yeah
(Yeah, yeah)

Never pictured myself singing lullabies
Sitting in a rocking chair in the middle of the night
In the quiet, in the dark
You’re stealing every bit of my heart with your daddy’s eyes
What a sweet surprise

And now I’m holdin’ what I never knew I always wanted
I couldn’t see; I was blind ’til my eyes were opened
I didn’t know there was a hole
Something missing in my soul
‘Til you filled it up, oh, with your love

Life has a way of showing you just what you need
And who you were made to be, yeah

The Mother – Brandi Carlisle

Welcome to the end of being alone inside your mind
Tethered to another and you’re worried all the time
You always knew the melody but you never heard it rhyme

She’s fair and she is quiet, Lord, she doesn’t look like me
She made me love the morning, she’s a holiday at sea
The New York streets are as busy as they always used to be
But I am the mother of Evangeline

The first things that she took from me were selfishness and sleep
She broke a thousand heirlooms I was never meant to keep
She filled my life with color, cancelled plans and trashed my car
But none of that is ever who we are

Outside of my windows are the mountains and the snow
I hold you while you’re sleeping and I wish that I could go
All my rowdy friends around accomplishing their dreams
But I am the mother of Evangeline

They’ve still got their morning paper and their coffee and their time
They still enjoy their evenings with the skeptics and their wine
Oh but all the wonders I have seen I will see a second time
From inside of the ages through your eyes

You were not an accident where no one thought it through
The world has stood against us, made us mean to fight for you
And when we chose your name we knew that you’d fight the power, too

You’re nothing short of magical and beautiful to me
I would never hit the big time without you
So they can keep their treasure and their ties to the machine
Cause I am the mother of Evangeline

I Got You – Ciara

Hush little baby don’t you cry
Momma’s gonna love you all your life
And if you ever need a friend
Momma’s right there till the very end
And if you’re feeling down or weak
Momma’s gonna give you all the strength you need
There’s nothing in this world that I wouldn’t do
For my little Future ’cause I love you

It all can get so out of control sometimes
You can lose your faith, you can lose your mind
Lose your grip, get stripped of your pride
Till you don’t know how you’re gonna stay alive
And this world can throw you over the track sometimes
Your friends can stab you in the back
Sometimes you just break down
When this life tries to wreck you, I protect you yeah

I got your back, I got you
I take your side, I lay my life down for you
I’ll crawl over broken glass, I will stand in the flame
Take the bullet, take the blows, I would take all the pain
Anything, anything that you gotta get through
Hey, hey, I got you
Hey, hey, I got you

It all can push you over the edge sometimes
Make you wanna jump off the ledge sometimes
Make you wanna stand up and scream
Make you feel like there is no one listening
This world can put a hole in your soul sometimes
Put you at the end of your road
Sometimes you just break down
When this world tries to end you, I defend you yeah

I got your back, I got you
I take your side, I lay my life down for you
I’ll crawl over broken glass, I will stand in the flame
Take the bullet, take the blows, I would take all the pain
Anything, anything that you gotta get through
Hey, hey, I got you
Hey, hey, I got you
Hey, hey, I got you

I’ll be there to stop the bleeding
I’ll be there to start the healing
I will give you what you’re needing
I’ll be right there

Like My Mother Does – Lauren Alaina

People always say
I have a laugh
Like my mother does
Guess that makes sense

She taught me how to smile
When things get rough

I’ve got her spirit
She’s always got my back
When I look at her
I think, I want to be just like that

When I love I give it all I’ve got
Like my mother does
When I’m scared, I bow my head and pray
Like my mother does

When I’m weak and unpretty
I know I’m beautiful and strong
Because I see myself like my mother does
Like my mother does

I never met a stranger
I can talk to anyone
Like my mother does

I let my temper fly
And she can walk away
When she’s had enough

She sees everybody
For who they really are
I’m so thankful for her guidance
She helped me get this far

She’s a rock
She is grace
She’s an angel
She’s my heart and soul
She does it all

I hear people sayin’
I’m starting to look like my mother does

Somebody’s Hero – Jamie O’Neal

She’s never pulled anybody from a burning building
She’s never rocked Central Park to a half a million fans screaming out her name
She’s never hit a shot to win the game
She’s never left her footprints on the moon
She’s never made a solo hot air balloon ride around the world
No she’s just your everyday average girl (but)

She’s somebody’s hero
A hero to her baby with a skinned-up knee
A little kiss is all she needs
The keeper of the Cheerios
The voice that brings Snow White to life
Bedtime stories every night
And that smile lets her know
She’s somebody’s hero

She didn’t get a check every week like a nine-to-fiver
But she’s been a waiter and a cook and a taxi driver
For twenty years there at home
Until the day her girl was grown
Giving all her love to her was her life’s ambition
But now her baby’s movin’ on and she’ll soon be missin’ her
But not today
Those are tears of joy runnin’ down her face

She’s somebody’s hero
A hero to her daughter in her wedding dress
She gave her wings to leave the nest
It hurts to let her baby go down the aisle
She walks right by
Looks back into her mother’s eyes
And that smile lets her know
She’s somebody’s hero

Thirty years have flown right past
Her daughter’s starin’ at all the photographs
Of her mother
And she wishes she could be like that
Oh but she already is

She’s somebody’s hero
A hero to her mother in a rockin’ chair
She runs a brush through her silver hair
The envy of the nursing home
She drops by every afternoon
Feeds her mama with a spoon
And that smile lets her know
Her mother’s smile lets her know
She’s somebody’s hero

Mother Like Mine – The Band Perry

She’s the sky that holds the clouds
She’s the lady of the house
A blind believer in all I dare to be
There’s no safer place I’ve found
Than the shoulder of her white night gown
Oh I’ve got the best and the worst of her in me
And I’d share her if I could

So the wars would all be over
‘Cause she’d raise us all as friends
And no one would ever wonder if somebody wanted them
We’d walk on grass that’s greener
And our cares would all be freer
If the world had a mother like mine

She’s our father’s one great love
She’s the one he wanted most
She’s the light in the window of the house I grew up in
She takes the midnight call
She’s the bravest of us all
Still she sings in the garden she lets her hair down in

Oh the wars would all be over
‘Cause she’d raise us all as friends
And no one would ever wonder if somebody wanted them
Tonight would be easier
And our dreams would all be deeper
If the world had a mother like mine

Don’t go away
Don’t go away from me
Oh I understand
She is a helping hand
Still I have to say

She’s the sky that holds the clouds
She’s the lady of our house
We all need her
But no one more than me

Oh the wars would all be over
‘Cause she’d raise us all as friends
And no one would ever wonder if somebody wanted them
We’d walk on grass that’s greener
And the dishes would all be cleaner
If the world had a mother like mine

Mother – Sugarland

There are other songs that less pertain to motherhood itself, but instead reference mothers.  Some might not even include mother in their titles, such as The Miracles “Shop Around” – “my mama told me you gotta shop around…” or perhaps most famously Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody” – “Mama, just killed a man… Mama, life had just begun… Mama, oooh, didn’t mean to make you cry…”. Some songs lament a life unfulfilled by all that a mother could be.  While they can be so heart wrenching to listen to, I think they further highlight the importance of a loving, caring, nurturing mother in our lives, and the sadness and emptiness felt in the absence of such a figure to turn to and rely on.

Kellie Pickler has openly shared her heart and emotions related to the abandonment by her parents, splitting up a day after her 2nd birthday, her mom then disappearing, her dad often incarcerated.  Fortunately she had loving, caring grandparents who served as her surrogate mother and father.  I loved her for her story, her talent, her beauty, her personality, and for the woman she was becoming when she appeared on American Idol.  Her ability to move beyond her hurt, disappointment, and sense of abandonment and find purpose and let her talents shine has been inspiring.

Mother’s Day – Kellie Pickler

I try to sleep as long as I can
I pull the covers over my head
I pray that there’s some way
That life could skip a day to Monday

I try to count my blessings
It’s a long, long list
For a girl who has so much
There’s so much that I miss on days like this

I wish I could go to town, buy you a card
That says “I love you” inside a heart
And one that makes you laugh
Pick you flowers from our yard
You can set ’em in the window in a mason jar
Dad will take our photograph
One two three
Smile, say cheese
Oh I wish it could be that way
Every mother’s day

Maybe someday I will let go
But right now I’m still hanging on
Maybe one day God will bless me
With a daughter of my own
I’ll have love I’ve never known

She could go to town, buy me a card
Says “I love you” inside a heart
One that makes me laugh
She’ll pick me flowers from our yard
I’ll set ’em in the window in a mason jar
And dad will take our photograph
One two three
Smile, say cheese
Oh I wish it could be that way
Every mother’s day

One two three
Smile, say cheese
Oh I wish we could be that way
Every mother’s day

I Wonder – Kellie Pickler

On a more uplifting note, though I must admit I just cried while watching the video, as it is just so beautiful, Kellie’s winning freestyle performance with Derek Hough on the 16th season of Dancing with the Stars is just breathtaking:

And now on to the playlist. Consider sharing the playlist and this blog with the mothers in your life.

I’d like to honor and express my love and thanks to inspirational mother figures in my own life: my mom, Noreen, my wife Regina (the loving, caring mother of our children), my mother-in-law Carol, my sister-in-law Pam (who not only had abundant love for her biologic children, but also for her adoptive girls from Guatemala), my grandmothers Beatrice and Jean (Nonny), my great Aunt Kiki (a loving mother figure for my mom by brothers and me, and even my own children), my cousin Sheila (a fierce momma bear who takes great care of her cubs and grandcub, even amidst the pain and heartbreak of losing her own mother bear just a year ago), my friend Vicky (though more the age of an older sister to me, still an inspiring mother figure in my life), my friend Tammy (a single mom who has dedicated her life to caring for her boys, grandkids, and ailing parents, her father just passing, not to mention being an inspiration of faith to me and all she served in youth ministry), and Julie (from afar, loving, caring for, and supporting not only her children, but her husband Sean and his mission in Haiti and ministry, and having courage and grace in the face of the tragedy of multiple miscarriages, enduring and continuing on to bring 3 loving children into this world).

And if you missed my blog about my own mom, check out February 6th’s blog post “Seasons of Love – A Tribute to Mom on her 80th Birthday.”  On this Mother’s Day, please reach out to your mother, or those who have played a mothering role in your life.  Let them know how important they are to you, how much you appreciate them, care about them, and love them.  From one of my favorite Garth Brooks songs, “if tomorrow never comes will she know how much I love her?”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bwb9dCEnyds

Reach out to those moms in your life, and let them know how you feel, how much you care, how much you love them. And if your mom, grandmother, or other mother figure has left this world, say a special prayer, while recalling the wonderful memories of times spent together.  If you have strained or estranged relationships, try to mend them as able.  If they are broken beyond repair, work on forgiveness or at least finding some semblance of peace and acceptance.

I hope that this music and my blog truly serve as a “revival: a new presentation of something old,” a springboard to return to the music of your youth, or perhaps to find artists you want to discover anew.  Rediscover the passion of music in your life.

Live in the moment.

Enjoy the moment.

Love the moment (and your “moms”)

Listen to the MUSIC!