This past Monday, I felt pangs of sadness as I put a Mother's Day card in the mail so it had enough time to travel from Seattle to Connecticut before Sunday. My mom is my best friend and, when I moved across the country exactly one year ago, I was fully aware that the distance from my family would be the hardest part of this life change. When I lived in New York City, I saw my mom at least once a month and sometimes more — we were together on every special occasion, and if I was having a rough week, one of us would hop on the train at a moment's notice. So, it's a huge adjustment to spend Mother's Day without my mom this year — but I'm trying to look for the silver lining.
On Sunday morning, I'm sure I'll log onto social media and see countless photos of my friends celebrating with their moms and I'll desperately wish that I, too, was at brunch with my mom. I wish I could give her a huge hug and tell her in person all the things I've said in writing and on the phone, then snuggle up on the couch and marathon Gilmore Girls until the wee hours. Mother's Day is an important holiday to me and, since my mom is my best friend and biggest supporter, of course I wish we could celebrate together. But, when I really force myself to think about it, it's OK that my mom and I are apart, because we prioritize our relationship every single day — and, whenever we are together, we make the most of every moment.
To be clear, I'm not diminishing the importance of the holiday just because I'm bitter that I can't be with my mom. (Full disclosure — I'm a little bitter.) But, instead of sadly scrolling through my Instagram feed all day on Sunday, I need to keep things in perspective. Mother's Day is a holiday that absolutely should exist, and not just for the sake of Hallmark's profits. There are so many amazing moms out there who do so much for us and they deserve a dedicated day in their honor. But I don't want it to be the only day that I celebrate the wonderful relationship I share with my mom — and it shouldn't be the only time each year that I express to her how much she means to me.
While it's wonderful to have a day solely dedicated to honoring mothers, the 3,000 miles that separate me from my mom have reminded me to cherish every moment we do get to spend together — regardless of the day, the holiday, or the season. Although I was always happy to see my mom when we lived near each other, my move has made me realize that I once took the frequency of our visits for granted. Until a year ago, I was convinced that I was an east coast girl through and through, so I simply assumed that I'd always live a quick train ride away from my best friend and biggest supporter.
And the reason I'm currently embarking on this exciting new chapter of my life is because my mom raised me to be independent, try new things, and pursue my dreams. When I became unhappy living in New York City and working at a corporate job, I told my mom that I'd fallen in love with Seattle and I wanted to move there to become a full-time writer. Plenty of people told me I was crazy and it was a huge risk to move to a city where I knew no one and didn't have a new corporate job lined up.
It was my mom who encouraged me to follow my instincts, even though I was a little scared. She was quick to remind me that it's better to regret the things I do try rather than the things I don't. My mom has always instilled in me the importance of not letting fear hold me back. When I moved to Seattle, she acknowledged that she was sad, of course — but she emphasized that she would be far sadder if I didn't pursue my goals. After all, she'd put a tremendous amount of effort into raising me to be an independent, proactive young woman. In fact, she's flat-out told me that she would be disappointed if I sacrificed great opportunities because I was fearful of straying too far from my tri-state area comfort zone.
Instead of harping on the loneliness I'll inevitably feel, I want to use this Mother's Day as a reminder that all the time I spend with my mom is special and every moment should be cherished. I'm currently counting down the days until we meet up in Chicago for a week, and I plan on making the most of every single moment of our time together. In the end, it's not the date of May 8 that truly matters — it's the overall sentiment that our moms are amazing, and deserve major credit on every day of the year.
If we are fortunate enough to have supportive, nurturing mothers, we shouldn't wait until May to celebrate them and tell them how much they mean to us. Sometimes, a spontaneous card that's not associated with a birthday or Mother's Day can mean way more, because it shows that we're grateful every day of the year — not just on the designated holidays when we're expected to send an obligatory card expressing our love and gratitude.
Over the past year, I've called my mom a few times just to tell her I love her and I deeply appreciate her unwavering support of me. (I mean, she answers plenty of 2AM phone calls when I'm having "a moment." She's earned it.) Her response is always, "that's what I'm here for." But the fact is, not every mom sees things that way and I know how lucky I am — and that's why I want to treat every day we spend together like it's Mother's Day. It's exactly what my mom deserves.
Images: Caitlin Flynn (3)