For some people, being quarantined with your mother is pure joy. She cooks for you, does laundry, helps with the house cleaning, and counsels you about your hopes and dreams. If you’re quarantined as a family, she might keep the kids occupied by playing a game of Candyland with them when you just can’t stand to play once more.
Many people still live at home into their 20s and beyond. While our current economic situation might silence choruses of “Why don’t you get a job and move out,” it could make one feel as if the freedom to come and go has been curtailed by Mom and Dad and not by the coronavirus.
Let’s face it: There are those of us who wouldn’t make it more than three days quarantined with Mom, but still want to honor her. Unless you’re currently living with your mom, celebrating Mother’s Day is going to be a lot more challenging this year.
Traditions like the Capitol Hill Home Tour have been postponed until after Labor Day. Restaurants where you would normally take Mom are temporarily closed. Siblings are less likely to come over for a family dinner at home and even if they want to, the home itself might not allow for proper social distancing.
So, what are some options if you are in one place and Mom is in another?
Send a card. If your mother is old-school, she will tell you that a card lasts longer and can be read and enjoyed over and over. Better still, write a note sharing a memory or words of love. If you’re running out of time, send it via overnight mail. If Mom is local, drop that card or letter in her mail slot.
Call her on the phone. Remember when we used to do that? Drive to her home, roll down the windows, and loudly play her favorite music in the car as you come down her street. With her inside the house, stand outside at a window and chat.
Have Mom download FaceTime or Google Hangouts on her cell phone so you can let her see the new baby, give her a tour of your new house, or let her see your condo listed on the web. Walk the dog and show her your neighborhood. (See how I got a real estate reference in there?)
Flowers, the staple of Mother’s Day gifts, are still available from companies like 1800Flowers or Bouqs, although varieties may be limited, and same day delivery may not be available.
Chocolate truffles from Harry and David, drizzled strawberries from Shari’s Berries, and fruit bouquets from Edible Arrangements are always a nice touch. Dinners may be ordered in advance for delivery from a number of local restaurants.
Having a computer-savvy mom offers a lot of choices for involving other family members in Mother’s Day activities. Zoom is a great program to include people no matter where they live and, if you’re estranged from your mother or other members of the family, you can put in a quick appearance and disconnect if things get awkward.
Whether your extended family is large or small, you can elect to have dinner together, even if you’re not eating the same thing. You can catch up on what everyone has been up to, offer a toast, share family secrets, and just have a good laugh, all while being responsible for washing only your own dishes.
After dinner you can look at home movies (a.k.a. family videos and your favorite YouTube offerings) and play games together. Have a family talent show or play “Sweet Caroline” on the Karaoke machine and invite everyone to sing along. Identify items for a household treasure hunt and give a point to the person who is first to bring each one back to the group. Play Charades, Pictionary, or my favorite childhood game of storytelling – Who Can Tell the Biggest Lie. (Hint: it’s not who you think.)
This year has taught us that we are all vulnerable. Maybe next year it will be time to buy the family compound in the mountains or at the beach, but for now, enjoy your time together however you can. You won’t regret it.
Valerie M. Blake is a licensed Associate Broker in D.C., Maryland and Virginia and Director of Education & Mentorship at RLAH Real Estate. Call or text her at 202-246-8602, email her via DCHomeQuest.com, or follow her on Facebook at TheRealst8ofAffairs.