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The Many Ways to Celebrate Moms

Barbara Bestor, Mother's Day

My mother always hated mother’s day.  She grew up in 1930s Germany where the Nazis emphasized motherhood as the duty of women to the state - she claims they invented the holiday as a way of increasing the population for the Third Reich’s evil purposes. She also abhors most forms of sentimentality about family and country for that reason –all commercialized forms of holidays were taboo in our household. As her daughters, we would feel left out.  My sister always says she wants to start a support group for ‘adult children of northern European mothers’ who don’t seem to be as compelled by sentimental American traditions,. As a result, I sometimes over-react and love goofy holiday stuff, but generally have a sort of ‘granola-y’ relationship to decoration, to try and keep it real. Mother’s day is an odd one to celebrate, since it doesn’t really come with much ritual or décor. The kids love it but often need help doing it!
Mother’s day got way more complicated as a single mom. Plus I had my mother, a single mother as well, in town. When I was younger and married I called it ‘Shoe Day.’ I like shoes so we would shop, as a family with two little babies, and I would buy a couple of pairs of shoes on Robertson Boulevard, and that made me super happy and content. It was almost a game show-esque payoff for having given birth. .
The year of my divorce, I received a big bouquet from my ex-husband and a friend of mine was the florist who delivered it. He looked at me and said ‘I am so sorry’ and I just started bawling and that was a very, very rough day.
With two tween daughters and an aging mother it had become the standard brunch-at-a-restaurant deal, until my sister – not a mom herself—took it upon herself to start hosting mothers day brunch at her house.It is awesome! Normally, it is just myself and my girls, my mom and her best friend (whose adult kids live back east). This year is inviting another mutual friend who just adopted a baby about a month ago and has no other living family of her own. It is an all girl gourmet multi-generational blowout and it actually makes the day have some significance. Last year we heard stories from my mom about growing up during World War II and her friend shared tales about her deceased husband’s hilarious family.. These were GOOD stories. My girls didn’t check their phones or mutter about the iPad or otherwise get bored. I think they felt like they were being inducted into a special club.
I have a few lady friends who have created another unusual tradition –they are all married with kids and have made Mother’s Day, The Morongo Mamas Club, where they do a 24 hour visit to the Morongo, a cheesy giant casino on the way to Palm Springs.  They drive up on Saturday, check-in, gamble, read tons of trashy magazines by the pool, have a good meal in palm springs and go to bed early. The next morning they get up, gamble a little, and hit the giant outlet mall for the day before they head home to their families for Mother’s Day dinner.
Other folks do camping trips, spa days, yadda yadda… I think whatever you do, you should be able to have a moment of realization and gratitude that it is  FUN of being someone’s mom, and that marking that moment is the point of Mother’s Day.