Mother's Day is best celebrated your way — here's how we do it
Happy Mother's Day!
The commercialized world doesn't seem to have a firm grip on the realities of motherhood and ways we like to celebrate. There are, of course, mimosa-drinking, brunch-eating, rose-sniffing moms. But after a little discussion among the features staff, there are none of us in that crowd. We celebrate our moms and our kids celebrate us much, much differently.
So no matter how you to choose to mark this — the second Sunday in May — do it with love and gratitude in your heart.
Mom, daughter memories
When my daughter was 4 years old, and the thought of any holiday filled her with excitement, she surprised me on Mother's Day with breakfast in bed.
Waking from a deep slumber, I found her standing at my bedside, clutching half of a peeled banana in one hand and an open container of yogurt in the other.
"Happy Mother's Day," she said earnestly.
I must have struggled for a quick response because she then burst into tears, worried that I would be upset that she woke me.
I scooped her up and placed her between her dozing dad and me, and we shared a few bites of the delicacies she offered.
I then introduced her to the fine art of sleeping in on Sunday mornings.
Mother's Day is somewhat bittersweet for me. I lost my mom in 2004. And because my daughter, now 22, attends college out of state, I seldom see the person who made me a mom on Mother's Day.
I'll give her credit for remembering, though, always coming through with flowers, a card and a call.
When I moved away from home, I often took my mom out to lunch and a movie on Mother's Day.
I still remember her giggling and blushing like a schoolgirl during a Robert Redford film.
"He's quite handsome," she said. And we both giggled.
With my mother gone, my girl and I carried on the lunch and movie routine.
In recent years, my nest pretty much empty, I've worked on Mother's Day, taken long walks, prepared a meal or seen a movie of my own choosing.
I cherish the many cards, the tiny ones with dictated messages accompanying bouquets, and the thoughtful Hallmark ones, with a few sweet lines written by my "only."
And I've strategically placed a few reminders of Mother's Days past around the house.
Among my favorites are a construction paper and crayon card, (empty) chocolate kiss wrappers serving as floral centers, and a photo of my mom and my daughter, dressed in their Sunday best, both smiling shyly.
Happy Mother's Day, to the women who guide us through our early years.
And to ourselves, the ones who still pivot every time we hear a little voice call "Mommy," no matter how old our "babies" grow.
All by myself
None of my children will be coming to see me on Mother's Day.
Before you say, "Awwww," let me tell you that it's OK.
I know they love me — and heaven knows I love them — but they're all adults now with their own lives and responsibilities. This year, for the first time, none of them will be able to spend the day with me.
I also know I'm not the only one who will be alone on this day that represents that special bond between mother and child. If it's not a matter of physical distance, unfortunately there can be emotional distance. And in the worst case, a mom may have outlived her child.
Maybe you're single now and your own mom isn't around either.
Find a way to celebrate anyway. I will.
I'll celebrate all that being a mother has given me — no, not the saggy skin and flat feet, but the laughter, the pride, the indescribable joys.
Think of it — a whole day to do whatever you want. Not something a mother often has.
• That restaurant nobody else likes, that 1,000-calorie fast food burger you're embarrassed to eat in front of anyone – go for it.
• That movie nobody wants to see. You love Anna Faris, but "Overboard" got bad reviews? Go see it. Bollywood movies are too silly for your group — "Monsoon Wedding" is playing at the Regent Square Theater. Sappy Hallmark movies are your thing? Make it a Mother's Day marathon.
• That best-seller you can't get around to starting? Read it straight through, beginning to end, stopping only for chocolate.
• Get that wild nail polish you've been too timid to try. While you're at it, get a foot soak, a bath bomb, a face mask and a body scrub. Have your own spa day.
• Be a girl alone in the big city – pick a Pittsburgh neighborhood to explore.
• Be a girl alone in the country – pick one of the area's great parks or trails for a hike or a picnic for one.
• Buy yourself flowers.
• Pull out that big box of photos. Laugh – and cry – over them.
• Don't wait for your kids to call you, call them. Cash in the guilt points later.
You did the best you could as a mother – believe it.
Baseball and slot machines
My 91-year-old mother Evelyn Klimovich isn't a brunch, flowers and candy kind of woman when it comes to celebrating Mother's Day.
She would prefer going to a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game or to the Rivers Casino – or both, so that's how we usually spend the day. She has been a Pirates fan since she met my dad Paul (they were married 66 years, he passed away in June 2015). They loved to watch the games on television and even listen on the radio at times, as well as attend in person. When the team is in town on Mother's Day, I take her. This year, the Pirates host the San Francisco Giants and Andrew McCutchen, whom the Pirates traded, and who is a favorite player of my mother's. She has his jersey.
We have watched baseball in the rain as well as 90-degree weather, eating hot dogs and French fries, but there's no better view of the game, and the city, than from the handicapped section on the Pittsburgh Baseball Club Level above home plate.
She enjoys the thrill of playing the slots in hopes of hitting the big one. Instead of a buffet full of food she most enjoys a cup of wedding soup from one of the many restaurants inside the Rivers Casino. Her favorite is Big Jim's in Greenfield — but the one at the casino's Wheelhouse Bar & Grill is pretty good too, she says.
Being in a wheelchair the past 14 ½ years because of a stroke, both PNC Park and the casino on Pittsburgh's North Shore are easily accessible and let her forget about her medical condition.
A Pirates victory combined with a successful gambling trip make her day!
The best gift
If you ask my mom about the best gift she's ever received from me on Mother's Day, she will answer quickly and confidently.
It didn't come in a shiny box with a bow or a bag stuffed with tissue, it was me in a cap and gown. Her favorite gift of all time was my graduation from Edinboro University on Mother's Day 1989.
We have an exceedingly small family and I was the first to attend a university and exit with a degree. It's always been a point of pride for both of my parents. But that day — May 14 — still gets commemorated on her kitchen wall calendar. This year it reads, "Jo grad 29 Y."
I never really understood that until I became a mother 17 years ago. The pride and love in your children truly is the greatest gift of all.