Remembering and honoring moms

Published 9:31 pm Monday, May 10, 2010

Here’s hoping all the moms out there had an outstanding Mother’s Day.

I’ll admit right off the bat, I became a little disenchanted with Mother’s Day this year, as I watched a good friend try desperately to ignore the excessive commercials and advertisements after the loss of his mother a little more than a year ago.

It made me think — why cause people who don’t have their mothers any longer needless pain, just for the sake of a “Hallmark holiday?” It’s bad enough that they must deal with not having their mothers every other day of the year, and then there’s that one special day where they are reminded more than any other. Why can’t those of us who still have our moms honor them daily, and not needlessly remind those less fortunate of their loss?

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Then, I visited a remarkable woman named JoAnn Parker to do a story on her for Mother’s Day. As a foster parent for about 25 years, Parker, her husband and their three biological children have taken in about 100 foster children throughout the years.

Though the children she gave birth to are now in their late 30s, the Parkers continue to accept foster children, and they continue to care for two special-needs children they took in years ago who are now in their 20s.

Parker told me that many of her former foster children likely would be visiting her on Mother’s Day to shower her with cards and gifts. Though these children had biological mothers, they choose to honor Parker because she was a mother to them through a variety of tragic circumstances.

Some of those children, perhaps, wound up in the foster care system because they lost their mothers to death, or because they never had much of a mother in the first place.

That’s when I realized that even people who have lost their mothers can find meaningful ways to celebrate the holiday. They can call their grandmothers, sisters and sisters-in-law, daughters, cousins, aunts and maybe even a couple of special women who were “like a mom” to them, and let them know they are remembered.

As for me, at the age of 25 I am incredibly blessed to still have my mother and both of my grandmothers in this earthly life. As I write this column, I am getting ready to go have lunch with my mom and my paternal grandmother. On Sunday, I gave all three of them a call, in addition to two special cousins who are mothers.

And I gave my friend who lost his mom last March a hug — and then he called his sister.