Earlier this week my editor, Stef, sent this email:

“I'm guessing you're already working on it but please make sure Mother's Day is featured in your column. Thanks.”

I had planned to do a column on growing tomatoes. Tomatoes are like mothers: When you have a good tomato, especially when you’re making a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich, everything else falls into place.

I hadn’t thought much about Mother’s Day, because like many guys, I spend as much time resisting the have-to holidays as I do observing them. They sneak up on us and suddenly it’s Mother’s Day again and we’re scrambling. However, this one is different because we have lost a lot of mothers in the last three months. Loss is constant, but the present circumstances have made us pay attention in a way we might normally not.

This Mother’s Day, let’s start by honoring and remembering them.

Sourpussness aside, even in normal years, celebrating Mother’s Day is a modest ask. Instead of flowers, candy, cards, a glorious brunch or dinner, (not that there’s anything wrong with those), maybe what mothers are looking for is one day when they are not taken for granted like clean sheets. One day when people realize mothers do what they do in service of love and, if they didn’t, the world might fall apart.

We are good at taking things for granted. That comes easily but if it doesn’t, with some work, we can master it like old pros.

Perhaps one of the silver linings of the last couple of months is that our work, daily pleasures and seeing the people we love is no gimme. Things can change in an instant and although we knew that, this lesson may stick.

This has to do with Mother’s Day how? We could be more grateful, and today for mothers, because Monday they’re back to the unheralded, underappreciated and unsung trenches.


The present crop of mothers, those in their 20s, 30s and 40s to whom the torch has been passed, are worth spotlighting, too. This is not a knock on mothers of grown children because some of them have had the good fortune to turn their mothering skills into grandmothering, so one stage may bequeath another.

However, the new crop is on their way. It has been rewarding these past weeks to watch the parade of families from our front porches (fathers, we know how epic your contribution has been but we’ll cover that on June 21), moms walking and riding with their children. I’m probably not going out on a liquidambar branch, but these mothers have had a major role in keeping their families cheerful, intact and out of harm’s way.

They may need this Mother’s Day more than the last 10 combined. Flowers, wine, handmade cards, a break. A break from their beloved families because they might have had all the family they want.


Starting with this Mother’s Day, I could change my tune about the holidays. Why not welcome all of them, serious or otherwise? Although we missed National Homebrew Day on Thursday, National Have a Coke Day on Friday, and National Lost Sock Memorial Day on Saturday, we can look forward to Monday and National Foam Rolling Day, National Odometer Day on Tuesday, and National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day on May 15.

Let’s celebrate. Why not? When you start with mothers, anything is possible.

Contact The Californian’s Herb Benham at 661-395-7279 or hbenham@bakersfield.com. His column appears on Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays; the views expressed are his own.

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