Guest Op-Ed: Mother’s Day, in Quarantine

By Brian M. Arrigo

Like St. Patrick’s Day, Easter Sunday, and Opening Day at Fenway Park, Mother’s Day 2020 will be different than any before.

Restaurants won’t be packed with families giving Mom a break from the kitchen.  The stores where husbands, sons and daughters desperately shopped for just the right gift are closed. In many cases, mom and grandma will greet family virtually, without the loving touch that makes the day so precious.

Yes, Mother’s Day will be strange, but no less heartfelt. While this Sunday will be like every other Sunday—(every other day!)—since the middle of March, the simple designation that it is “Mother’s Day” will adorn it with special meaning. 

In many ways, Mother’s Day in quarantine can be a lesson, a reminder of life’s most important attributes. Perhaps Mother’s Day 2020 will redirect us from the commercialism that has blossomed around the holiday and steer us closer to its true meaning.

Mother’s Day celebrates and honors Mother, that special individual who is the eternal source of affection, wisdom, protection, guidance, discipline, kindness, patience, and an infinite list of virtues that are embraced in the ideal of motherly love.  Mother’s Day celebrates and honors motherhood, and the influence that mothers have upon every one of us and, therefore, on society as a whole.

In one way, the Covid-19 crisis has given us all a sense of motherhood. We endure sacrifice for the good of others. We appreciate that generosity, compassion, and health are the things that matter most. We have learned to accept that life will wallop us on occasion and still we will keep going.

Mother’s Day always is a harbinger of spring and the approaching summer.  It is often the first annual holiday that we celebrate outdoors. But we must all be careful to remember that this perilous virus that endangers every one of us will not take a break this weekend.  We must continue to be steadfast in staying safe, in quarantine, for our sake and the sake of our loved ones.

Sadly, in the past few weeks, too many have suffered the loss of a mother or grandmother as Covid-19 preyed ruthlessly upon the elderly. These tormented times have deprived many of the chance to visit a beloved mom during her final days, or to share the grief of loss with family and friends. For them, this Mother’s Day will intensify their grief and heighten their mourning.  To them, we offer our prayers and condolences.

All those who are blessed to have the opportunity to celebrate Mother’s Day with their moms this weekend, whether in a quiet family dinner or a virtual greeting, can take comfort in knowing that maintaining your quarantine will help keep mom, and family, safe. 

The time will come soon enough when can join together in traditional festivities.  But for now, the greatest act of love for our mothers, and the greatest act of mother love, will be to keep one another safe.   As difficult as that will be on Mother’s Day, it is critical as we all struggle to strike down the virus. Moms always teach that we can handle any difficulty.

Quarantine will never diminish the love between mother and child.  In this bewildering 2020, quarantine will be a wonderful acknowledgement of it.  

Happy Mother’s Day, no matter what, to all.

Brian Arrigo is the Mayor of the City of Revere.

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