I cannot count the number of texts, emails, and phone calls I have received that began with “My mother sent me this column you wrote.” All these moms caring for and continuing to nurture their now-grown kids—what a wonderful example of motherhood!
You never stop being a parent, even when your kids aren’t kids anymore. You don’t suddenly change roles like costumes at a Lady Gaga concert. Mothering is instilled in your DNA, and if you enjoy it, so much the better. Parenting is a choice and a lot of work, but if you do it right, there’s nothing more rewarding.
Mother’s Day is a special moment when we each get to honor the woman that has given us life and helped us navigate the trials and tribulations of elementary school, the self-discovery of junior high, and the melodrama of high school. Yes, without mom there to help you figure it all out, it would have been a lot harder. So on this day, you get to say thanks in whatever way makes sense to you.
I have memorial white rose bushes planted on the lake for each of my parents. Every year, we anchor by them and have a toast—my mom liked red wine on ice and, as icky as that sounds, we have a little sip from her cup to honor her and thank her for putting up with me. I know that could not have been easy.
If you had a good relationship with your mom, and if she is still around, you are a lucky person. If the relationship was so-so, but you are in contact, I invite you to do this Mother’s Day a little differently, by focusing not on your differences but on your similarities. I hear my mother’s words come out of my mouth from time to time, and it usually makes me laugh because it’s so ironic. She’s a part of me, as your mother is a part of you.
I remember going to dinner at Sizzler and having KFC on Saturday nights. I remember that my mom loved dogs. We always had one or two, and they were mostly hers, probably because they got most of their love from her, just like we did—and I hope I showed half as much gratitude as our pups did.
During this year of isolation, especially for many older adults, it’s important for us to show up on Mother’s Day. Our mothers can get neglected sometimes, and that turns into guilt, which can further add to neglectfulness. It doesn’t have to be a big, expensive ordeal; simply being there is the best gift you could give to her.
Remember what her favorite things are, and bring her one or two. Spend your time talking about what a good job she did raising you, and let her know you are grateful for all the attention, guidance, and love. Acknowledging that is all she wants.
I will add that if your mom isn’t around, but you know another mom who is going to be alone, consider giving her some flowers. It will make her day a happy one—and yours too.