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Associated Press
Anna Jarvis is pictured in this undated photo. Jarvis was instrumental in the establishment of Mother's Day.

In honor of Mother's Day, here's a look back at some of our favorite stories that explore motherhood, celebrate mothers and share their wisdom.

Mother's Day's rocky start

While the earliest recorded celebrations honoring motherhood date back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, Mother's Day began in the United States in the early 20th century with a surprisingly colorful origin story.

Anna Jarvis, now called the "mother of Mother’s Day," began her long campaign to make Mother's Day a recognized holiday in 1905 when her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, died.

Ann was a peace activist who cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the Civil War, and Anna longed to see her mother's efforts and the legacy of all mothers memorialized. So the younger Jarvis pushed for a national holiday, organizing local celebrations and starting a movement that slowly gained traction.

In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson finally signed a proclamation officially designating the second Sunday in May a national holiday honoring mothers. But by then, Jarvis was less than pleased.

She was irked to see Wilson receive credit as its founder. And by the 1920s, she grew disenchanted with its commercialization and offended by those profiting from preprinted cards, chocolates and commercial bouquets.

Surprisingly, Jarvis turned her zealous efforts to ending the holiday, writing angry letters and leading boycotts. She was even arrested at an American War Mothers event for screaming and disturbing the peace.

Jarvis couldn’t bear to see her vision of Mother's Day — commemorating mothers for "the matchless service (they) render to humanity in every field of life" — distorted or misinterpreted.

While we might not have escaped all the commercial trappings Jarvis hated, Mother's Day today is still a time to reflect on the service and wisdom mothers provide.

Mothers face tragedy and share wisdom

On an early morning in March 2005, Lisa Speckman rushed to the hospital to deliver her baby daughter, Lily. Within weeks, she had lost three limbs, multiple organs and her career.

While Speckman was preparing to leave the hospital, doctors discovered she had contracted a rare strep infection, causing her organs to fail and cutting off circulation to her limbs.

A year later, Speckman — once an avid skier, hiker and biker — talked about the process of rebuilding her life as a mother without her legs and right arm. Speckman was fitted with prosthetic legs, and she and Lily learned to walk at the same time.

Speckman also learned to keep a positive attitude by asking not why her illness happened, but why she was still here. "To love (my) family and be loved" and to show "compassion and open-mindedness toward those who are different" was her answer.

Maria Kubitz was cleaning the house one day when she realized she hadn’t seen her 4-year-old daughter in 10 or 15 minutes. After making her way to the backyard, Kubitz discovered, to her horror, that her daughter had drowned in the family’s pool — the most common cause of accidental death for children 4 and younger.

Maria Kubitz and her daughter, Margareta. | Photo courtesy of Maria Kubitz

Seven years afterward, Kubitz reflected on learning to live with pain after the loss of her child: "Cherish every moment you have with your kids and realize it's not going to last forever. Be on your phone a little less, spend more face time with your kids," Kubitz said. "Your relationships are what matter most. Use that as a guiding principle as a parent."

Alissa Parker also experienced the tragic death of a child when her 6-year-old daughter, Emilie, was killed by a gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012.

While nothing has erased her unimaginable grief, Parker now cherishes the connections she’s built in the wake of this tragedy, "connections between parents who lost their children that day, connections that prompted strangers to write thousands of letters of comfort to families reeling with loss, connections that have created programs and playgrounds in honor of those who died."

To parents dealing with grief in any capacity, Parker urges them to be patient with themselves because "the process of healing and dealing with the pain in your heart just takes time. Sometimes it takes a lifetime, but it does get easier."

Mothers' wide influence extends beyond their young children

Though mother-child relationships change over time, mothers still play a significant role in the lives of their adult children, providing continued mentorship and advice.

And the world is full of what Deseret News columnist Lois Collins calls "other mothers" — individuals like teachers, coaches, baby sitters and nurses who nurture those outside their biological families.

ALisa Campbell, a refugee camp organizer in Greece, speaks at the Utah Islamic Center in Sandy on Wednesday, April 5, 2017. | Alex Goodlett, Deseret News

Lisa Campbell, a mother to four children, 13 foster children and manager of Oinofyta Refugee Camp near Athens, Greece, is one such individual.

When asked about her role last year, Campbell said that when she became manager of the large refugee camp, she became a mother of 550.

Campbell said raising her children and foster children prepared her to look outward and inspired her work with refugees: "It's just been natural for me my whole life to bring people in, to love them, to let them know that they are cared about. Everybody needs to know they're loved and they're worth loving."