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What I learned about life and death from years of celebrating Mother's Day
Flowers, brunch, extra naps or tears? How are YOU honoring the moms in your life?
Hello KIRC family. Today we're getting a jump on celebrating and recognizing Mother’s Day 2022.
For all of the mom’s out there - Happy Mother’s Day ! KIRC wishes you a day filled with love, warmth and when it applies - extra rest and sleep!
For the thousands of incredible women who have chosen not to have children, but who are always there for their friends, colleagues, siblings, other relatives, plants and pets - you deserve a special shout-out as well!
For the millions of women who take on the role of ‘mother’ in the form of caregiving for a relative, spouse, neighbor or client - Happy Mother's Day to you as well!
And for those of us who have said goodbye to our mothers, I propose we take time to reflect on our memories, allow ourselves to feel whatever emotions may bubble up and be kind to ourselves.
I would like to share some thoughts about my Mother's Day journey over the years.
Reluctant yet reaffirming celebrations
Over the past few days, I’ve been thinking a lot about how our society conditions us to view Mother’s Day.
During the last 20-years of my mother, Miss Nellie’s life, I was pretty much the main point person managing her life affairs - housing, medical, shopping, coordinating activities and the like.
Each year as Mother’s Day rolled around, I would feel an overwhelming sense of responsibility to figure out how to celebrate and honor my mother. I won’t lie - some years I didn’t feel like I should have to. After all, I have siblings.
I would ask myself, ‘Why don’t they have to set aside a day, think ahead and plan something. It’s not fair that once again, I have to do this.’
They say hindsight is 20-20. It is true. I can look back now and say I am so grateful that by default, I had the task of managing Mother’s Day celebrations.
In my heart, I believe those moments were special for Miss Nellie. She may not have said so in so many words, but the various photos speak volumes.
One year we visited the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in South Florida. (If you have never been, I encourage you to visit). Here is a brief description form the Museum's website:
Visitors are surprised to discover a century-old connection between Japan and South Florida. It is here that a group of young Japanese farmers created a community intended to revolutionize agriculture in Florida.
In 1904, Jo Sakai, a recent graduate of New York University, returned to his homeland of Miyazu, Japan, to organize a group of pioneering farmers and lead them to what is now northern Boca Raton. With the help of the Model Land Company, a subsidiary of Henry Flagler’s East Coast Railroad, they formed a farming colony they named Yamato, an ancient name for Japan.
Screen Shot/Courtesy Morikami Japanese Gardens
My mother was always a history buff, so this trip was new, different and unique. During our visit, we walked through the Zen Garden, enjoyed viewing a variety of plants and flowers, then had lunch at the cafe.
Another year, we merged Mother’s Day and Cinco de Mayo observations. The outing was a simple lunch at a Mexican restaurant.
Mom posed for a picture seemingly sipping from an oversized Margarita glass. I don’t think she drank any, but it was fun nonetheless. I should also mention, my mother HATED taking pictures. Getting her to pose for this was quite a task!
Mother' Day/South Florida
Then there was the time was visited the Perez Art Museum in Miami. Beautiful grounds, but OMG - it was soooo hot! I realized I had to get Miss Nellie out of the sun and inside cool air. The visit was short but memorable.
Nellie P. Yarbough/Miami Mother's Day
The simple life
In the final few years of my mother’s life, observations of Mother’s Day were simple. We spent time at home here in Northern California, watching television, talking and then I would typically prepare mom’s favorite meal for dinner.
My mother passed in September, 2020 at the age of 90. Her final Mother’s Day was smack dab in the middle of the pandemic. By that time, she was living at a care facility, which meant I was not allowed inside.
Our celebration consisted of mom’s care aid rolling her wheelchair outside, to the property’s perimeter gate and me pulling up a folded chair to sit on the other side.
We visited holding hands through the gate and spending a short time together. That memory makes me smile, but also brings tears to my eyes. I miss her every day.
Roses in my Northern California garden
None of us knows how long we have in this life. And in the hustle-bustle of life, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and overworked. It can be easy to sometimes question the need to mark yearly celebrations - like Mother’s Day.
Despite moments of fussiness along the journey, I’m glad the duty of coordinating and planning every - single - year - of - mother’s -day - celebrations… fell to me.
*How are YOU honoring mom this year? Drop your comments into the discussion box. KIRC will be sharing those as we celebrate Mother's Day*
My wish for all of you is to take the time to think about this Mother's Day as more than a commercial holiday. Make and take the time to truly consider the woman your mother is. Consider her contributions to everything you are today.
In the end, the holiday will not be about the gift baskets of soaps and bath salts, or the boxes of chocolate or even the elaborate bouquets of flowers sent from miles away.
It will be about your memories and the moments of time spent together.
Until next time~