As the middle child, I was not the easiest to handle growing up. As a baby, I cried all the time, and my brothers and I would fight constantly. My mother was very patient with me (and with my brothers), as we came into our own. During middle school for instance, when I was shaving my eyebrows until they were nothing (I hadn't quite learned to master the tweezers yet, SIGH), she took me to the salon to have the beautician "assist" me with my brows. Nowadays, when everyone is plucking and tinting and shaping galore, mine remain fairly low-maintenance with a weekly light tweeze. This is just one of the many ways my mother has guided me through the years, although she might not realize it.
Because I live so far away from my parents (they're down in Florida, and I'm up here in New York), it makes it difficult to celebrate Mother's Day in her physical presence. This year, the children all joined up to give a lovely little gift to my mother, but I'm sure the greatest gift we've ever been able to give her is to give her some peace and be living our own lives, so she can stop worrying about us day in and day out (although she'll never stop doing that). Even so, I make sure that the day is full of all the things that remind me of Mom's ever-important residence in my life by taking part in activities that I think she would like, and that celebrate her as a person.
HOW TO CELEBRATE MOTHER'S DAY WHEN YOU'RE AWAY FROM MOM
1. Watch a movie or TV show with a dominant mother figure. I prefer comedy, so I'm going to be sticking with Mean Girls (Amy Poehler nails it as the "cool mom"), and of course, Arrested Development (Lucille Bluth is my spirit animal). Spend the next week peppering conversations with quotes from these characters, and occasionally saying exasperated phrases to younger co-workers or friends like, "You'll understand when you're older."
2. Call your mother. Really. It's Mother's Day. Talk to her about all the things she wants to talk about, without question, without snark, and without trying to get off the phone after the first hour. Even if you have to listen to her talking to another person while you patiently wait on the line for her to finish.
3. Clean your house, and make your bed. It's what your mother would have wanted from you today. If she can't be there to nag you to do it, you have to nag yourself.
4. Stay in tonight, and cook a meal for yourself. Ordering Seamless just doesn't count; think of all the times she made meals for you growing up, I think the least you can do is celebrate it by remember how friggin' hard it is to perfect a quiche crust without using the ones from the freezer aisle. And when you inevitably screw it all up, talk to yourself like your mother would, and then grab a glass of white wine (with ice, duh) and try to save the meal with that.
5. Post-wine, think about all the times you were a horrible child and how your mother put up with you. Then drink more wine, and contemplate how you can make this up to her next Mother's Day.