By Kara Bell

Picture: Our Public Relations Officer, Kara Bell, with her mother.

Mother’s Day looks and feels a lot different this year. The what-could-have-been simple plan to visit mom has now turned into an obstacle course. The thought of boarding a plane and flying home, or driving across state lines, or even sitting in the same room has now become a complicated endeavor.

As many of us continue adjusting our lives, whether it’s reorganizing the house to fit a home office or gym, or having far too many virtual happy hours, we may just need to add one more compromise to the list: settling for phone calls on Mother’s Day.

While sharing stories face-to-face is much more preferable than the blurry and buffering image of mom on your screen, sometimes a call is all you need. If there’s one thing I’ve learned since losing the luxury of being home often, mom is still mom, whether over the phone or in person, and she is still your mom regardless of the distance.

I moved from rural Wisconsin to Washington, D.C. over a year ago, so phone calls to mom have long since become the norm. My parents and I fell into a routine of seeing each other every few months or so and dedicating Sundays as time to catch up when we couldn’t be together in person. Despite our busy schedules and 900 miles between, I can always depend on that phone call from mom.

Although Facetime now serves as our primary means of speaking face-to-face, my mom is still my role model, comfort, and friend – just in a different way.

My mom is an irreplaceable role model to me. She was the one to teach me important life skills, like how to sew, file my taxes, or dress for any occasion. She showed me how selflessness brings much reward, and to always give as much as I can – whether it’s my time or money or both. With her stories and jokes, she can build my confidence with just one conversation, motivate me to be better, and push me to go further.

My mom is a source of comfort in my life. I could always depend on her to come into my room at night, cat in arm, and talk me through tough fights with my friends, break ups, moments when I felt defeated because things didn’t go as planned, or often just to talk about what’s on my mind. She is still the best person to call if I just want to talk, and having her on the other end transports me back to our nightly chats at home.

More than anything, she’s a driving force behind every big decision I make. Her voice lingers in the back of my head every time I’m faced with a difficult decision, and I know the advice she’d give. She has set me up for success and she’s proud of my accomplishments. But don’t get me wrong, she’s also my biggest critic and will be sure to tell me what I need to hear.

No matter the distance, I can always depend on my mom to be there. After enduring countless awkward and lengthy Zoom calls throughout the week, I’ll always have enough energy to chat with her.

There are many creative ways to celebrate your mom, so take advantage of this time to put thought and meaning into your thank you to her. Consider making a heartfelt card or collecting photos from a few of your favorite memories with her. Support local businesses by purchasing gifts cards to her go-to spots, or planning a future mother-daughter date. Send flowers from a local flower shop with a special note or inside joke on the card. Rather than COVID being an excuse to take a pass on Mother’s Day, try to go the extra mile and show your appreciation.

This pandemic has taught us several lessons, but here are two for Mother’s Day. First, it’s shown us how moms are still moms whether over the phone or not, and how important they are in our lives no matter the distance. And second, cherish the moments you have with her and show your appreciation in ways that are uniquely special to her. So, while this Mother’s Day may be tougher than usual to visit, remember that mom is just one phone call away – and there’s no call quite like hers.

This article can be found at The Cap Times here.