Mothers’ Day

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I spent yesterday celebrating Mothers’ Day, in the same way I’ve been celebrating it for almost fifteen years. In the early morning chill of a spring day, I joined a group of friends to participate in a 5K fundraiser. This annual walk/run, Moms on the Run, is organized by a generous Reno family, the Pinocchio’s, as a way to raise money and awareness for local support services for women dealing with breast cancer. Hundreds of people participate in the race and every year the crowd grows larger.

There was a festival atmosphere as we gathered on the high school field. Classic rock tunes blared from the loudspeakers. Volunteers passed out donuts and steaming cups of coffee. Pink balloons formed an arch over the course, food tents and silent auction tables dotted the in-field. Cancer survivors embraced  in the crowd. Children darted here and there, waving and shouting at friends.  Groups of friends and extended families arrived, some holding signs inscribed with the names of loved ones. Many wore costumes: pink superhero capes, giant bras, pink wigs, tutus. My friends and our teen-age daughters wore matching tie-dyed shirts and fairy wings. One friend sprinkled “fairy dust” on us. I liked the image of  magic spreading  through the crowd.

We walked to share Mothers’ Day with one another. We walked to support absent friends who are on their own cancer journey. We walked to honor those we have lost: mothers, sisters, aunts. We walked to celebrate life.

Yesterday, I was painfully aware of the loss of my mother, even though she died almost 26 years ago. This year I am the same age as my mother when she died from cancer. I don’t know why but this realization has weighed heavily on me since my birthday. Perhaps age milestones like this make me more aware of my mortality. Perhaps it’s the fear that I could succumb to the same fate. Whatever the reason, I was glad to be surrounded by my friends on Mothers’ Day.

I look forward to next year’s race, to sharing this special moment with my friends and our daughters. And someday, we’ll share it with our daughters’ daughters.

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