Celebrating Mother’s Day amid a pandemic with social distancing measures still in place means we all have to get creative. Whether you mail mom a card, call to say “hi,” or are one of the lucky few who’ll actually get to hang out in person with your mom (or any other influential maternal figure in your life) despite the coronavirus, remember to thank her for all she’s done for you! After all, you literally wouldn’t be here without her.
Trevor Lenzmeier, books and travel coordinator
I’ve acclimated to FaceTime holidays thanks to postgrad journalism jobs in Pittsburgh and Seattle, but missing celebrations at home never gets easier.
Mother’s Day 2018 was the last holiday I spent with family; on Christmas that year, I FaceTimed home while opening gifts in Pennsylvania next to this sad, 2-foot artificial tree. I put my phone down to cry a second when I indulged the thought of how much I missed home. But that FaceTime call is essential.
Tech is not my mom’s forte, so I call her while walking in Seattle to chat about the plants I smell and the critters I cross. I love our suburban hikes around Raleigh, North Carolina, when she identifies birds by their colors or chirp. I’d give my eyeteeth (shoutout BJC) to take a stroll with her and my family right now.
For Mother’s Day, I offer (and will utilize) the far-from-home holiday starter kit:
Pencil in some FaceTime. Pointing a camera at your FOMO will 100% hurt a bit — do it anyway. If your eyes start welling up, ask to talk to your pet or just your mom or preferably both.
Scheme with siblings for gift ideas. No matter how far-flung you all are, it’s fun to team up to make mom smile (wholesome content!). My mom is a saint but I know she hated the electric-blue walker utility belt I got her one year. Never once used it. Do you have a sister? Just Venmo her, she’ll have a better idea.
Send cards early! It’s the only thing you can’t have shipped directly to your folks. And nothing beats a handwritten note. And I always forget. And my cards are always late. Do as I say, yadda yadda yadda.
My mom reads The Seattle Times (hi Mom!) so I won’t disclose my exact plans, but I’ve been taking lots of pictures on my walks recently as Seattle considers committing to springtime, and I can’t wait to share them with her. Happy Mother’s Day!
Stefanie Loh, features editor
My mother was born to be a mom. Literally. Her birthday — May 9 — falls very close to Mother’s Day every year, so she suffers the fate of the kid who’s born on Christmas Eve: We celebrate both occasions bundled into one.
I’m unfortunately well acquainted with being away from my mom on Mother’s Day. We haven’t celebrated one together since I left my home country, Singapore, to move to the U.S. in 2003. And yet, throughout the years, mom and I have stayed very close, thanks mostly to long phone calls at least once a week, during which we talk about everything and anything under the sun. That’s our gift to each other: regular “catch up” time despite the miles between us. Even though I don’t see my mother as much as I would like, her voice is a balm to me, and every time I talk to her, I know that even if the world ends today, my mom will be there ready to back me to the hilt, through anything life can throw at me.
I mailed off a card for mom last week. (Hopefully it arrives in time!) This weekend, my Mother’s Day plan is to call my mom, wish her a happy birthday, and congratulate my dad for getting her flowers, and thank my sister — who lives in Singapore — for organizing a fancy dinner and getting mom a cake. My two sisters and I pooled resources to get our mom an iPad for her birthday this year. Perhaps we’ll use that to FaceTime, reminisce about vacations and good times past, and wait for this damn virus to pass so that, someday soon, we can all be together again. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! I love you!
Crystal Paul, travel and communities reporter
The Mom-and-Me Book Club: My partner’s mother lives in New York and is an avid reader, but she tends to read tearjerkers, historical fiction and literature with a social justice bent, while her son tears through sci-fi, fantasy and graphic novels. So one year I attempted to bridge the gap by finding books that met both their interests. We bought two copies of four books for each of them and kicked off their own mother-son book club!
It was supposed to be a beautiful way for them to bond and share ideas, even 2,000 miles apart. And it was. They both absolutely hated one of the books I chose for them and grew closer together in their disdain for it as they tore the book apart and laughed at my abysmal judgment. The bond is reinforced perennially whenever they recall how much they hated the book and my utter failure. (The book still sits shamefully on our home bookshelf, because I actually liked it …)
The idea is still gold though! If you settle on three books — one mom will love, one you will love, and one wild card — you’ll at the very least have something you can both gleefully hate on together. Because the family that book-shames together, stays together? Maybe this year I’ll try to persuade them to play a player-versus-player online game together and direct all that vitriol at faceless gamers …
Lori Taki Uno, desk editor
My family and I face a double whammy every year because my mom’s birthday lands very close to Mother’s Day. This year, thank goodness, we had gotten her an early birthday present: a smart TV, so she could watch her Asian movies and Disney+ (which she loved and quickly exhausted) in the comfort of her bedroom. What next? She recently asked my sister: “How do I get those other movies?” Netflix! Perfect! That’s what we’ll do! But what really makes my mom happy is spending time with her family. How do you do that in this time of the coronavirus? She’s going to be 91, and — besides my sister and nephew, who live in the same condo complex — the rest of us have been keeping our distance. My idea, which I may end up regretting: an online family tournament with the Scrabble queen herself! She’s good, and yes, we’re all nervous, but Mom, game on! Is “loveyou” a word?
Yasmeen Wafai, features news assistant
This year, my brothers and I got some photos of us, my niece and other loved ones together and made my mom a photo book from Shutterfly. Skylight Frame is a way to instantly email photos to a loved one and have them pop up in a digital frame. And of course, you can Zoom/Skype a gathering with the family.