Following the carnage of the Civil War, and before Anna Jarvis entered the scene, there had been efforts to celebrate mothers as a force in the world for peaceful settlement of differences, but none of the events had evolved into a tradition.
The death of Anna Jarvis's mother on the second Sunday in May, 1905, spurred Anna into action. Nine years of advocacy ultimately led to Woodrow Wilson's signature proclaiming an official Mother's Day in 1914, just in time for the outbreak of WWI several months later. Note the placement of the apostrophe. Rather than a celebration of mothers in general, Anna's vision was a very personal affair, in which people would give handwritten notes expressing gratitude for all that their own mothers had done for them. Anna distributed white carnations at the first formal Mother's Day event in 1908, but ultimately would spend the rest of her life fighting the commercialization of the day by the florist, card, and candy industries.
To honor the brave founder of the holiday, therefore, it looks like the best course of action would be to write a note of personal gratitude on something other than a Mother's Day gift card, perhaps accompanied by some flowers cut from the backyard. Lilacs, anyone? That could be followed by a stroll past some gardens with flowers in bloom.
Below are a random assortment of flowers that you might encounter, though the reader is to be discouraged from picking unless they are growing in your own yard.