It still feels strange to go down the card aisle filled with Mother’s Day cards at CVS and realize that I don’t have a mother to buy one for. I know I could buy one for my daughters or my daughter-in-law but it’s just not the same feeling. I miss my mom.
Many friends and colleagues ask me what vitamins and food I eat to have so much energy. I certainly take my fair collection of vitamins every morning and never miss a meal. (Maybe that’s why I’m a card-carrying Weight Watcher — to little success.) My energy comes from my mom’s DNA; she had an endless source of strength.
I think I also got my ability to lead from my mom. After all, as far back as I can remember, she was president of the PTA, my class mother and my Girl Scout leader. I have a great photo of her in her Girl Scout leader’s hat and dress. She was a leader her whole life and I learned by watching.
She was a survivor also, having crossed the European continent at age 2 on the shoulders of her 13-year-old brother, leaving Kiev for America on the heels of the charging Cossacks. Her love of family was endless and I think that love sustained me through her whole life and beyond. I miss her and I know how proud she was of all I did.
When I was head over heels in love with my jock boyfriend in my first year at an out-of-town college, she knew he was wrong for me. It took an intervention from both my parents, who convinced me they simply couldn’t afford my brother’s tuition and mine away from home so I’d have to transfer to NYU. Little did I know the costs were really the same! But with many tears I left Ray Kells and the University of Rhode Island behind and began my next life. It took a year of tears but, in the end, my mom was right. Before long, I met my future husband and four children later.
I miss my mom.
She had other qualities I also cherish. When my brother or my children went “rogue” on me, I can hear her words, “Keep the door open.” I have lived that advice and how wise it was, because I learned it’s okay to get angry or disappointed but never close the door on your loved ones.
I miss my mom.
My mom was always there through the trauma of my first born child Lara turning blue in the nursery and her needing enormous support for the 17 years of her life. When I started Life’s WORC, born out of Lara’s needs, my mom was there creating aquarium planters to raise money for my cause, attending all my fundraisers including one in Madison Square Garden starring John Lennon and Yoko Ono, where she sat among the marijuana-smoking massive crowd. She also visited Lara religiously every week while she was in Willowbrook on Staten Island.
I miss my mom.
She was there when I started The Queens Courier, always available as my safety net. I knew I was protected if I failed. She inspired me and gave me my courage to carry on no matter where life led me.
I miss my mom.
We laughed that, as she got older and weaker, she lived my life vicariously. I often say she is still with me, sitting like a beautiful butterfly, on my shoulder, watching me and protecting me.
After all, a mom is a mom forever, and I miss mine!
A Superhero at 4 Years Old
My favorite Sunday morning activity is sitting in bed with the Sunday papers sprawled around me and a cup of coffee as I watch “CBS Sunday Morning,” a show of brilliantly crafted segments. This Sunday had one about a loving little boy from Alabama who is a 4-year-old superhero.
“President Austin,” as he calls himself, feeds the homeless. His dad and he had been watching a segment about a baby panda who was separated from his mom and became homeless. He asked his dad if that happens to humans and when he was told yes, he decided he wanted to help them.
Taking his allowance and the money that he knew his dad would spend on toys for him, he decided, as “President Austin,” that he would feed them. So his dad, in awe of his little superhero son, went along and helped him take to the streets in a superhero outfit printed with the words “Show Love.”
As the boy handed the chicken sandwiches to homeless people, he said, “Show love,” and in most cases, they returned his act of kindness with hugs and awe that a true superhero had come into their lives.
I thought of my grandchildren and how much they have and how big their hearts are, too. Just recently, 6-year-old Addy saw an ad on TV for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and decided she would raise money for them. She called her relatives and raised $250. Child power!