It is almost Mother's Day. I find myself running around in a quandary, wondering what to buy, stopping in various stores to find appropriate Mother's Day cards for my mom, my sister, my step-daughter, my daughter-in-law, my best friend, my husband's secretary, my assistant -- well, you get the picture. The cards may be cute, or funny, or heartwarming or poignant, but they all have one thing in common: they praise a job well done, day in and day out, in the midst of the daily challenges that run the gamut from funny to life-threatening.
A few years ago, my friend, Andrea White, who is the First Lady of Houston, Texas, asked some of her friends to take responsibility for an event around a celebration. She asked me to come up with the idea for Mother's Day. Andrea was already connecting people around Houston through a series of events called "We're All Neighbors", which has proven very successful.
Initially I thought maybe Andrea should hold an open Mother's Day picnic at Memorial Park, where people could mingle and celebrate their moms. It would be great! But then I thought of all the women who have no homes, no safe place, no friends to visit or meet for coffee, no one to pick up the slack, no one to even buy them a card.
The women in shelters, or worse, on the streets. Perhaps abused, ill-used, or just down on their luck with not much holding them up except some hope. Moms are supposed to be the ones who do that. The ones who make it ok. The ones who smooth a furrowed brow, and wipe away a tear. The one who holds you and say it will all be okay even when the odds look bad. But whom do Moms turn to when nothing is right?
So, I suggested to Andrea that we organize an event for those Moms who are all alone. Give them a Mother's Day that celebrates them! Have food, and a cake and clowns and childcare. Have some cosmetic gift bags and some magazines. Have some time for them to have time off from worry. Time away from being the one on watch. Time away from being the ever-responsible Mom. She loved the idea.
It's been 5 years now, and our event has become a fixture. We still have clowns, and cosmetic bags, and childcare and that BIG cake, made by the wonderful Nadine Moon. For one afternoon in May, hundreds of women and their children have an afternoon where the troubles they encounter on a daily basis just don't matter. Now that's cause for celebration!
So when my kids and husband ask what I want for Mother's Day, I say nothing -- because I really do have it all.