By Jay Mejia
Sunday marks the 100th anniversary of Mother’s Day, a celebration honoring mothers and motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society.
Here in Lee’s Summit, Kathy Smith’s mother Ida was born the year before the annual national observance. Don’t bring up that up to Ida. She does not want to be reminded of her age, her daughter is quick to point out.
Smith, president of the Lee’s Summit Historical Society, said there are many unsung mother heroes like Ida in the city’s history.
On Thursday, 58 students from Westview Elementary R-7 toured the city’s historical museum and learned about how mothers have played a major role in the community, especially in times of conflict such as World War II.
"As a historian, I always think of the ‘early moms’ and what they did when the fathers and sons were off defending our nation," said Smith. "You think about Rosie the Riveter and right here in Lee’s Summit our mothers were keeping the home fires burning, taking care of the farms, the tractors and animals. We should pay tribute to all our mothers every day."
This Mother’s Day, Smith said she will bring flowers and a box of Whitman’s assorted dark chocolate to Ida and prepare a nice dinner.
Other families are likewise preparing for the special occasion.
Tristan Brown, 15, said his family will be hosting brunch and an evening barbecue for his grandmother Betsy Parrini, who is flying in from Phoenix and for his mother Peggy, owner of Blue Heron Design, 11 SE 3rd St.
"I always hear how much my mom does for Lee’s Summit," Tristan said. "She sure knows how to keep things lively by hosting so many shows and events to attract people downtown."
Brown herself was more circumspect.
"I have not done so much for the community as the Lee’s Summit community has done for me," she said.
Barbecue will be the order for Mother’s Day festivities at the home of Nick and Jenny Swearngin. Nick owns John's Barber Shop at 217 SE Douglas St., and Jenny is a partner with Parker & Swearngin, LLP, Certified Public Accountants.
"It will be interesting to see who shows up and when," he said, ticking off the mothers, sisters, cousins and daughters, and their male counterparts, who will be descending on his home for a total crowd of more than thirty members of the extended family.
For Blake Little, 34, who teaches at Lee’s Summit West High School and coaches at Lee’s Summit High School, Mother’s Day will be kept simple.
"We’ll go to lunch and later a barbecue," he said. "We hear a lot about my mom since she does so many great things for our community. I think of my grandparents, too. They are no-nonsense, hardworking people like my mom. They’re always saying do the hard work, because there’s hard work that has to be done." Blake's mom is Roby Little, the Executive Director of Lee's Summit CARES
For Sue Tominia, Sunday will be a day of rest, according to daughter Amy Tominia Robertson, who together with her father Steve and mother Sue own and operate Cameron’s Home Furnishings located downtown at 26 SE 3rd St.
"Sunday is her day to relax," the younger Tominia said. "She’s going to go to mass (at Our Lady of Presentation) and then just hang out and watch her grandchildren Elizabeth, 6, and Zach, 3, eat pancakes.
"She has to be one of the most selfless people I know," Tominia Robertson said of her mother. "She gave up teaching to run our store. Even though she stays quiet in the background, she is just an amazing mom and person who makes things happen for Lee’s Summit."