In this file photo from 2018, Foothill Flowers flower processor Susan Hart, attaches ribbons to orchids in the basement while floral designers work upstairs to fulfill Nevada County Mother's Day bouquet orders in Grass Valley, Calif. Credit: Elias Funez / The Union via AP

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Each May, Mother’s Day is a time to celebrate the women who brought us into the world, stood by us from toddlerhood through teenage years and continue to counsel and love us. It is a holiday to mark with appropriate fuss and affection.

Mother’s Day is celebrated in dozens of countries around the world. The modern American version was proposed in 1870 by Julia Ward Howe, an abolitionist, social activist and author of the poem “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” The holiday was copyrighted by Anna Jarvis, a West Virginia woman who wanted to honor the memory of her late mother. In 1907, two years after her mother’s death, she embarked on a campaign to make it a holiday, and in 1914 it was nationally recognized.

As soon as the 1920s, though, Jarvis was complaining about the holiday being commercialized. She once railed against those who honored the holiday by sending only a printed greeting card, saying, “A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world. And candy! You take a box to Mother — and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment!”

In 2020, second graders in Frenchville went far beyond the humdrum version of the holiday to consider why their mothers should be the mother of the year. Their responses were heartwarming, practical, humorous and, a few years later, remain good reminders of why we’re celebrating mothers on Sunday.

“First, she makes the best omelets,” Sophia Michaud wrote. “Second of all, she is very kind to me. When she has the time, she takes me biking. She’s pretty flexible too. Like, I wouldn’t think many moms would let a lizard from South Carolina be your pet. One more thing, she really likes to play chess, and she’s good at it.”

“She washes my clothes when they are dirty. She cooks the best spaghetti,” Hunter Guerrette shared. “She helps me with my homework. My Mom takes care of me when I am sick. My Mom plays games with us and took me to see Toy Story.”

“One reason is she works very hard. She also has amazing cooking talents,” Drew Marquis wrote. “She is always very kind not only to people, but animals. She always takes care of me and my brother and our dogs and dad. Last, but not least, she is full of love!”

A mother’s charge can be daunting. She often must dispense discipline, and yet, she also must provide ongoing nurture and instill a sense of security and unconditional love.

And, as BDN Opinion Editor Susan Young emphasized recently, giving birth is not the only way that someone becomes a mother.

“Mothers who have adopted children. Mothers who have children through surrogates. Mothers who marry spouses who already have children. Mothers who take in children, as official foster parents or as informal guardian angels. They are all mothers,” Young wrote in a recent column.

On Sunday, we celebrate all mothers, no matter their path to motherhood. They deserve all the fuss and affection for the vital role they played, and play, in our lives.

The Bangor Daily News editorial board members are Publisher Richard J. Warren, Opinion Editor Susan Young, Deputy Opinion Editor Matt Junker and BDN President Todd Benoit. Young has worked for the BDN...