Mother’s Day Without Mom

Last year, when Mom was in the ICU, I brought her favorite foods, in hopes of tempting her to eat; lobster rolls, blueberry muffins, cold coffee drinks. She slept for most of the time I was there, but I was able to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day and tell her that I loved her.

Mom’s nurse asked at which nursing home Mom usually resided. She was shocked to learn that, three days before Mom’s arrival via ambulance, Mom went to church to hear her granddaughter read at Youth Sunday, and then she and Betsy stood outside in the wind and sun for four hours giving lectures on lepidoptera at the site of the future Children’s Science Center. Mom had a terrible headache and generally felt crummy, but she did it.

Less than two weeks before she was hospitalized, Mom took Henry out for a day of adventures while I chaperoned Betsy’s 3rd grade field trip. They arrived home long after we did, with all kinds of stories, and a green plastic wheelbarrow and a spinning turtle sprinkler that they’d purchased.

She was not, by any stretch of the imagination, confined to a nursing home.


Mother’s Day this year, my first without her, I am a little sad. I’m always at least a little sad, because I always miss my mom.

Me and Mom Sewing

Mom and me, doing needlework.

But mostly, I feel thankful that I was born to such a wonderful mother.

I’m thankful that I had almost 40 years with her. And I’m thankful for the love she gave me. I carry it with me always, a gift that is mine to keep and to share forever.


On Mother’s Day this year we took the kids “to visit the flowers” (according to Henry) at the National Arboretum.

Sitting on Bench with Kids

Matthew grilled a delicious dinner and my Dad joined us. And I was given some amazing gifts.

Abigail's Gifts

These were from Abigail.

Last week at Udvar-Hazy, I let each kid choose one item from the gift shop. After much deliberation, Abigail picked this mug. I told her how much I’d liked it; in fact, I’d almost purchased it for myself. When we got home I washed it for her and served her next drink in it, and she seemed reluctant to drink out of it and I couldn’t understand why.

On Mother’s Day she handed me a gift bag with the mug inside. She had pretended to choose it for herself, but she was really getting it for me.

The bracelet was purchased in a similar way. It came on a card that she sneaked onto the conveyor belt at the grocery store when we were buying other cards. She even thought to get another one with butterflies from all of the kids.

Her thoughtfulness and selflessness amaze me.


Betsy made me this awesome scrunchie.

She used the sewing machine, all by herself (under Dad’s supervision). She spent hours and made several versions to get it just right. I especially like the bright, cheerful colors she chose, and how hard she worked to engineer it.

Harvest Basket Top

Matthew and all the kids made me this harvest basket. I’d been wanting one for years, so Matthew researched designs and built one out of cedar. It’s sturdy and lightweight and I really like the diagonal handle that allows long things to hang over the end without throwing the basket off balance.

Harvest Basket Side View

The kids were involved in all aspects of the construction, for which I admire my husband’s patience.

Harvest Basket End

Harvest Basket Held


I am thankful that I get to be a mother to these three extraordinary children, and to parent with a partner who works harder for his family than I would have imagined possible.

Things are still very hard for us, for a long list of reasons too personal to delineate here. My husband in particular has been burdened with trials and responsibilities that no one should have to bear.

I hope that we will be able to move forward, to make the right decisions, to ensure a better future for our children. These kindnesses from Matthew and the kids mean particularly much to me right now, and give me hope that we are doing a few things right. I know that the kids see how much we are struggling right now. I hope they feel how much we love them, too.

About rbpepper

Rebecca is an artist, writer, and photographer with degrees in Theater and Social Work, and is currently a Stay at Home Mom to her three kids. Some part of her house is always a mess, she lets her kids paint on the table and design their own costumes, and she makes excellent allergen-free cookies. She lives with her equally creative husband and children in a part of Virginia known for being "pretty close to Dulles Airport", and dreams of moving to an old farmhouse in New England.
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2 Responses to Mother’s Day Without Mom

  1. Pingback: National Air and Space Museum: Udvar-Hazy | Rebecca Breed Pepper

  2. Pingback: National Herb Garden Roses | Rebecca Breed Pepper

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