My Corner, Your Corner: I always tried to make Mother’s Day special for Mom

My Corner, Your Corner - Tony Callaio | May 6th, 2016 2:13 pm

I’d like to wish all moms a happy and wonderful Mother’s Day.

The other day my friend Kim Breslin said she was buying cards for some friends when it hit her — this is the first Mother’s Day in her life she won’t celebrate with her own mom since she passed away last year.

Losing my mom a little over a month ago, I too share those sentiments. I know I’m not alone. Great women like Anne Gober, Mickey Bartos, Lena Parente, Carm Chiavacci, Sheila Kelly Czarkowski, Arlene Cravatta Grudzinski, and Dianne Tigue, to name a few, sadly passed away since last Mother’s Day, and their children, no doubt, will experience great sadness today.

Life is a great big mystery and one never knows what will happen from year to year. In my case, my mother was aging and had shown signs of failing for some time. Her dementia was worsening and I found myself preparing for the worst.

Sometimes the loss is more unexpected.

What I’ll miss about Mother’s Day is giving my mom a homemade card. No, not the kind made with crayons in elementary school, but the modern day version – I designed her cards on the computer.

For as much as I enjoyed creating them, I got a bigger kick out of her opening them. I would try to outdo myself each year. After she passed away, I was going through her belongings and found one of the cards I made for her. It was a sad moment, but it made me smile.

For years, my mother believed she was one year younger than her actual age. She got so mad at me when I insisted she was 75 and not 74. The more I laughed over the whole thing, the more furious she got. I really believed the whole age thing was something she made up, like a little white lie. That wasn’t the case.

Finally, I had to prove her wrong by grabbing her license. With pad and pen in hand, I show her the math and she still didn’t believe me. That was my mom — stubborn and tough to the end.

I’ve shared so much about my mom last month when she passed, but as I reflect now, I think of my mom as she really was. In addition to being tough, she was demanding and sometimes downright hard to get along with, but now that she’s gone, all that is disappeared.

What I choose to remember on this, my first Mother’s Day without her, is that I love her more now than ever.

I can’t remember all of the Mother’s Days we celebrated together, but I can recall the feeling that I needed to make it special for her. For as difficult as my mother could have been, I knew that day was a day I had to honor her for bringing me into this world.

Even though I had an older brother and younger sister, I felt I had a special bond with my mom and I think I understood her more than my siblings did. My brother joined the military at 18 and my sister moved out at 19, and I remained in close proximity to her. I never lived more than a mile from her with the exception of the last 18 months of her life, when she lived in a nursing home in Kingston.

For those fortunate enough to still have their mothers with them, make today extra special for them. Soak in the day and try to remember every minute you have them. Perhaps next Mother’s Day, you can try to make a card for her. If you don’t have computer skills, then open up a box of crayons and give it a shot. I guarantee it will be the most satisfying Mother’s Day since you were a child.

Even though many of us have lost our mothers physically, they will always be with us. We talk to them when we need help. When making decisions, we will wonder what Mother would say or do. We quote them on many occasions and we do all we can to preserve traditions Mother instilled in us.

One thing I do know for sure — our mothers will live in our hearts until we take our last breaths.

Quote of the week

“All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” – Washington Irving, American writer.

Thought of the week

“A mother understands what a child does not say.” – author unknown

Bumper sticker

“Motherhood: All love begins and ends here.” – Robert Browning, English poet.

My Corner, Your Corner

Tony Callaio

Tony Callaio’s column My Corner, Your Corner runs weekly in the Sunday Dispatch. He can be reached at