With novel coronavirus restrictions loosening, mothers across the country this year will receive more of what they want on their special day: Time spent in person with the ones they love most.

For two years, the pandemic compelled many families to limit or cancel gatherings to celebrate Mother’s Day. The virus is still spreading and can still imperil others, to be sure. Many people must continue to take precautions so they don’t risk the health of those they cherish.

But safety protocols have been modified as preventive measures among individuals expand. The vaccinations available are the best way to thwart serious illness and death, so everyone eligible should be immunized.

This allows more leeway when it comes to family celebrations. And what holiday could be more fitting for this than Mother’s Day?

Mothers deserve their time in the spotlight. They serve such a critical role in strengthening our society.

This role is as varied as it is glorious. A mother is a baby’s first dietician, chief medical officer, instructor, activities director and counselor.

She bathes her offspring, nurses them, helps them begin to walk, cleanses wounds, teaches them how to obtain food and guides them in learning about the wider world. She watches over her young when they sleep and puts herself in harm’s way to protect them.

The mother is key to creating a safe and comfortable environment for her offspring to develop. She maintains peace among siblings and disciplines her children when they’re out of line. A mother delights in seeing her young mature but mourns when they grow up too quickly and leave the nest.

These qualities of motherhood are universal among most living beings. There is something about the maternal instinct that makes a mother so uniquely qualified for the tasks she faces.

But because we are more intellectually and emotionally complex than other creatures, humans take motherhood more seriously. This is because the most important lesson mothers convey to their children is how to love.

The former Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, W.Va., is now the International Mother’s Day Shrine. The church commemorated the first Mother’s Day ceremony on May 10, 1908, as a result of a movement launched by Anna A. Jarvis. The church structure became a shrine to this movement in 1967.

A member of the church, Jarvis began advocating to make Mother’s Day a national holiday in 1905. Every state in the union observed Mother’s Day by 1911, and President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation in 1914 declaring Mother’s Day (the second Sunday in May) to be a national holiday.

Americans across the country are now celebrating Mother’s Day. This is a time when we honor our mothers for all the extraordinary ways they have enriched our lives. We shower our moms with gifts, flowers and cards as a way — however small — to express our love and appreciation.

Conveying how much motherhood means to us is no easy task. It was our mothers who brought us into the world in the first place, so how can you repay such a debt?

In the end, we cannot. But this doesn’t matter. For just as the many functions that mothers perform can be exhausting, in total they are even more rewarding.

Today, let’s pay tribute to all moms — this includes mothers, stepmothers, foster mothers, adoptive mothers, siblings, grandmothers, aunts, guardians and beloved family friends — and hope they find joy in the knowledge that they had a hand in raising loving children. We urge everyone to celebrate this holiday responsibly and safely.

And let’s not pay lip service to mothers by giving them attention on this day alone. Mothers cherish the one-on-one time we spend with them — so we need to make our presence with them felt every day of the year.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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