What is Mother’s Day? A day to honor mothers.

To me, it’s also the day that American University hosts its graduation. May 13, 2007, I sullenly watched David Gregory give a very witty speech about something I’m fairly certain was inspirational. My mother died the year before and I wasn’t in the mood for Mother’s Day brunch, or graduating with most of my family absent.

I was frantically trying to control everything and attain some semblance of normalcy. Of course, that made everything go wrong. My hair was ruined. The brunch I made was ruined. The restaurant I picked for the night before was bad.

None of those things were life-ending but that weekend, I didn’t have room for any more disappointments.

After graduation, we went to Filomena’s in Georgetown. It’s nestled next to a sex shop and a Ralph Lauren. A little Italian woman makes homemade pasta in the window as you descend the stairs into Martin Scorcese’s dreams.

None of those details are probably true anymore. Georgetown has probably become the new Shaw. The new Shaw is now the old Adam’s Morgan. And Adam’s Morgan is likely the new White House. The world keeps moving even when you think it should stop and stay the same for a while.

Mother’s Day is also a day I never quite got right as a kid. My mother always said, “Don’t get me anything.” Of course that meant, “Get me everything.” Some years, I thought of special gifts. Other years, I thought I should listen when she said to save my money.

Unfortunately, my mother was the only person to point out these common life ironies to me so her subtly whizzed by me. With all the frugality instilled in me, I was frazzled. Internal conflict plagued every inch of my being.

One year, I paced through the Stop and Shop flower section wondering how much was too much to spend on a plant. Is $10 too much? Is $7 better? $15 seems pretty steep, if you ask me.

It took me a while to figure out how to be frugal with designer jeans but be Rockefeller when you want to show your mom you care with a beautiful bouquet.

For me every Mother’s Day is different. Some years, I avoid it. Some years, like this one, I use it to put life into perspective. No one has taken away my right to honor my mother. I am grateful for 20 years with an amazing mom who still inspires. All the love she put into being my mother and my brothers’ mom still lives and breathes every day.

Nowadays it lives and breathes in my nephew too.

This year, I feel gratitude but maybe five years from now I will be a mom. Then with my new mom role, I will begin to relate to her in a new way. Maybe I’ll look at my kids and think, “I can’t believe my mother is missing this.” But I’m not there yet. I’m here.

And this year, I’ve decided to be thankful for the time I did have with her. How will you spend Mother’s Day?

Lauren Muscarella’s debut book, Alice’s Law: Honoring Lost Loved Ones and Finding Deeper Meaning, was published February 26, 2015.

Find out more here: amazon.com/alices-law-honoring-finding-meaning/dp/193928841X/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8





Lauren Muscarella

Lauren started the blog Mama Quest in May 2010 to share stories of her journey through loss after losing her mother in 2006 at age 20. The blog also serves as an outlet to pass on the wisdom she received from her mother, who died of breast cancer at 52. After an overwhelmingly positive response to the blog, she launched Trauma to Art, a movement to support and facilitate creative expression from those who have experienced loss. Now Lauren works to build the Trauma to Art community while writing a book of creative arts therapy activities for confronting grief as well as preserving the memory of lost loved ones. In her spare time, Lauren enjoys volunteering, traveling, wine tasting, and learning to speak French.

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