“Playing Favorites for Mother’s Day,” May 7, 2018

Mother’s Day arrived a bit early for me this year. That often seems to happen as we age. Our children grow up and become more thoughtful adults. Or they look at us and think, “Gees, Mom’s lookin’ old. She might not be around next year.”

Either way, I’ll take it. When they were little (but old enough to realize that Mother’s Day was a rare occasion when they were expected to give a gift, rather than receive one) they would ask me what I wanted.

My answer was always the same: “I want to be with my favorite people — the people who made me a mom.”

They’d roll their eyes like it was the dumbest answer ever. My daughter, when she was 6, expressed it best: “Seriously, Mom? Ask for something good! Dad’s gonna pay for it!”

She now has a 6-year-old of her own and understands what I meant. For a mother, being with your child is the best gift of all. Unless, of course, you’ve been holed up for days (say, due to chicken pox or a family road trip that your husband swore would be fun) and need a little break. In that case, the best gift — and I cannot state this strongly enough — is absolutely a break.

I live hundreds of miles from my kids and never need a break from them. Except maybe after hosting Thanksgiving. I planned to fly to California and spend this Mother’s Day with all my children and grandchildren. It seemed like a great plan until my oldest, an actor who lives in L.A, said he’d be back East, working on a movie. So he and his fiancee drove for hours from L.A. to our home in Las Vegas to spend the weekend celebrating Mother’s Day with me — a week early.

Sometimes plans that don’t work the way we planned turn out to be a lot better. As much as I like having all my kids together, I love spending time with each of them alone. I learned that from my grandmother, who had 10 grown children and more grandkids than she could count. Her house was often overrun with family. But what she liked best was sitting on the porch, or at her kitchen table, talking with just one of us at a time.

Growing up, those one-on-one talks made me think, out of everyone in the family, I was her absolute favorite. After she died I learned most everybody thought they were her favorites, too. But I still felt just as special.

That’s what I want for my children and grandchildren, for all my family and friends: I want them to know beyond a doubt each one of them is my absolute favorite. But it’s hard to make a group of people feel like your favorites. You need to do it one by one, to look into their eyes and listen to their stories and light up when you see them like fireworks on the Fourth of July.

I’m not good at everything, but I find it easy, and fun, to light up for my favorite people. I did that, I hope, all weekend for my oldest and his fiancee. I also cooked a little (nothing says “favorite” like serving up somebody’s favorite food.) I told them stories I’ve told before and asked lots of nosy questions and listened to them laugh with my husband. I hugged their necks and told them I love them. When they drove away, I stood on the sidewalk waving with both arms until they were out of sight.

It wasn’t Mother’s Day on the calendar, but it was Mother’s Day for me.

I’ll spend the official Mother’s Day with my other favorite people who call me Mama or Nana. I will celebrate, not just for me, but for all mothers, yours and mine, living or long departed, including those who never gave birth, but have given their lives to loving a child.

Here’s wishing us all a day to celebrate motherhood and all its blessings, surrounded by people who know, beyond a doubt, that they are our absolute favorites.


  1. Miriam Deluca says

    Yeah together is great but one on one is even better

  2. James Watson WATSON says

    Your Mothers day column was so touching.With a mother like your I’m sure you are equally a wonderful mom.
    Last weeks article out in the desert was also fantastic. Keep up the great writing

  3. Kate Sciacca says

    “As much as I like having all my kids together, I love spending time with each of them alone.”

    You are spot on as usual! Yes the craziness and noise when all 26 of us are together (usually at Thanksgiving) is loads of fun – and makes for great photos… but nothing beats time alone with each family. They love coming to the Carson B&B – and we look forward to every visit 🙂

  4. Susanna in Solvang says

    Sharing from Honore de Balzac: The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness…(from me, love). Continued thanks to you.

  5. Elaine Mccaffery says

    Sharon, Happy Mother’s Day! What another great column . You are so blessed to have kids that travel far and wide and vise versa to see each other and want to spend time and precious memories with you. I have children and grandchildren that I rarely see or talk to. You would think there are a million miles between us. Life has a weird sense of humor. Have safe travels and a wonderful holiday with those you hold dear.

  6. Shirley Harris says

    Thank you for recognizing those of us who never had a child of our own but have given of our time loving and teaching other people’s children. It has definitely enriched my life. Mother’s Day is such a deserving occasion.

  7. Betty McNall says

    Happy Mothers Day! I chose to read this now and will probably read it again in the Sunday paper! I have 2 boys and 2 girls. Only one lives close with 3 teenagers!! They always remember Grandma and Grandpa, and that’s good. Have a wonderful weekend.

  8. Amen. As always,you’ve captured in words what is held in the heart and have shared it with all of us. Happy Mother’s Day!

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