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With Mom on Your Side …

You’ve got muscle

This single day carries a heavy weight.    
    At 18, you’d have shared 6,566 days with your mother, assuming steady cohabitation. For many of us, maternal ties stretch far beyond the age of emancipation. The 45 years my mother and I shared this earth — and one another’s consciousness — amounted to about 16,450 days. If your mother is still kicking when you’re 70, the total rises to 25,533. Even separated at birth, mother and child have spent 270 days in one another’s constant company. No matter how few the days we were mother and child, no matter how dear or hostile, that relationship is life’s most critical, psychologists tell us.
    That’s a lot to account for in the 24 hours of Mother’s Day.
    You may reject an occasion so fraught. You may feel it commercial or forced, inadequate or irrelevant.
    Or you may seize the day, figuring its imperfections will excuse your less-than-perfect effort to reckon with the big M.
    For Mother’s Day 2014, we’ve reduced complexity to one simple moment. Take us, I’ve asked, to what was once for you the world’s safest spot, the place your mother stood, literally or figuratively, at your side.
    If we crossed paths in the last days of April or the early days of May, I probably asked you to join us in recounting such a moment uniting you and your mother. Fifteen daughters and three sons, ranging in age from 12 to over 80, took my challenge, sharing photos and recollections. In the Burton-Boughey trio, you’ll read how a mother’s words and actions have spanned four generations.
    I hope you’ll follow their lead to your own mother-and-child reunion.
    –Sandra Olivetti Martin


Sandra Lee Anderson

Daughter of Marjorie Comstock

I was 30 and my mom 55, both of us old enough to know better.
    Conventional, she acted as mothers should. We spur of the moment decided to see a show at Wolf Trap, the acclaimed outdoor theater in Northern Virginia. There, nestled in a natural amphitheater, people eat picnic lunches on the theater’s grass extension.
    The unreasonable $40 ticket, just to sit on the lawn, became a matter of principle. So we crawled under large bushes and sat behind the chain link fence enclosing the grass.
    I felt a thrill to be doing this with my socially proper mother. A man in uniform told us to move. We departed with a light step having shared an adventure.


Mackenzie Boughey

Daughter of Heather Burton Boughey

Ninety-minute practices two times a week — August through October for field hockey, and then March through July for lacrosse. That’s about 125 hours of watching me practice each year. Twelve rec league games each season for both field hockey and lacrosse. Plus club lacrosse with six summer weekends of two-day tournaments, from Maryland to New Jersey, and four more two-day tournaments in the fall. That’s 84 hours of watching me play in games, not to mention adding in all of the travel time and then the down time between games.
    Mom has only missed three games in my entire sports career: once for a family emergency and the other two times when she had surgery. I know if I’m on the field with a stick in my hand, my mom will be there cheering for me.


Heather Burton Boughey

Daughter of Lois Burton

My mother has always been supportive of my endeavors. When I was a kid, my best friend and I would go crabbing, hoping to sell them to make money. My mom would wind up buying the few measly crabs we caught, then go out and buy another dozen so we could have a feast. Whenever my brother and I decided to wash cars for donations, Mom would be the first in line. In college I interned at Shock Trauma doing video production. My poor mother would stoically watch the videos I had worked on of medical procedures and always find something to compliment.
    My mother has always been there as my biggest supporter, and this is now my practice with my daughter. There is no greater feeling than knowing someone always is there for you.


Lois Burton

Daughter of Rita Doggendorf

My mother always stood by my side and guided me, both by her words and actions. Her philosophy was Be generous with your money, time and most importantly love.
    Whenever I needed her, I remembered this simple statement and knew that I would make the decision that would be right. I have repeated these same words to my daughter Heather and my granddaughter Mackenzie, so they would always know I am with them and supporting any decisions they make if generosity of self was part of the process.


Amanda and Jonathan Newell.

Diane Burt

Daughter of Elizabeth Wurtz

When my daughter was about to be married, she was given a family heirloom ring set from her dad’s mother, which is still on her finger 15 years later. When we started the hunt for the perfect wedding dress, my own mother offered the gown that she had worn in 1945.
    The three of us — mother, daughter and granddaughter — went about unearthing the box containing the dress, and when all the wrapping paper had been discarded, my daughter was awed. “A 1940s’ wedding dress, like Lauren Bacall,” she exclaimed.
    With the help of a very good friend, the dress was adjusted to a perfect fit and the bodice was overlaid with lace to finish the subtle update.
    “What a beautiful bride,” my mother cried at the wedding.