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The Mother of All Holidays

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Mother’s Day is here again, and if you think about it, it’s bizarre that only one day out the year is specifically dedicated to Mom.May-17.jpg Every day, our mothers touch our lives in some fascinating way—even if only through the cherished memories we carry. Mom is certainly deserving of more than a mere 24 hours of gratitude, doled out roughly every 365 days. I know mine is.

I pondered what to get my mother, Pam, this year for Mother’s Day. Flowers are certainly good. Brunch at Commander’s Palace is a lovely idea. A trip to Belladonna Day Spa to be pampered would be nice. My mom loves the spicy fragrance of Aromatics Elixir by Clinique, so a bottle of that would be great. Or diamond jewelry, a trip to Paris, a brand new Lexus … it all sounds fitting, given you’ve got a one-day window to express your magnanimous appreciation of the woman responsible for giving you life here on earth.

Whether you’ve got the means to lavish mom with over-the-top gifts or have to rely on a beautiful rose picked from your backyard garden, the best gift of all could be a collection of treasured memories you’ve made with your mom. Just dig deep, pull out a few of those wondrous recollections, put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and go. Here’s what I’ll tell my mom this year:

Mom, I’ll never forget that time you won a trip to Disney World in Florida when you intuitively answered “WTIX” to an anonymous phone caller who asked you what your favorite radio station in New Orleans was. Well, you actually won a trip for two to California, but opted for a less-expensive family package so that you could take Treg [my younger brother] and me along with you and Dad. It was one of our first vacations ever, and we got to ride on the biggest bird in all the air—and just when I thought things couldn’t possibly get better, we arrived at the Polynesian Hotel. Oh my! In my entire seven years, I had never seen any place so magical; it was hard as a child to take it all in, but it sure was fun trying. We got flower leis to wear, and we ate pancakes every day for breakfast. Yes! And remember Treg freaked out after catching sight of the large wooden Tiki god that hung on the hall, and he was so thin at the time he squeezed himself between the connecting doors of the hotel rooms and hid from everyone? Imagine him doing that today! Ha! And we got to see all the Disney characters, like Mickey and Minnie Mouse, plus we found new, undiscovered characters in other travelers, like the rather corpulent man who told his toothpick of a son to “Sit down, you pain! Stop eating, you fool!” We laughed about that all day, until we saw the same corpulent man floating in a paddle boat in Lake Buena Vista, screaming to his wife back onshore: “Betsey! Betsey! My shoe fell in the water!” And there it was, that black, size 15 behemoth, tongue and laces and sole and all, looking like a paddle boat itself, drifting off into the sunset. We’re still laughing about that! And Treg even discovered a “teenage peacock” on an excursion to Treasure Island, where we got to drink sarsaparilla, “like the pirates drank,” Dad told us. Wow! On the flight back home, I kept trying to imagine how heaven could be any better than Disney World, but I couldn’t. Thanks for opening up the world of traveling to me, an addiction I hope I never kick.

And Mom, I won’t forget the time I had the hard decision to make about law school. My attending LSU Law School was like mixing oil and water. While living in Baton Rouge, I dreaded Saturday nights, when tailgating students would stop on Nicholson Drive to relieve themselves and “decorate” the lawn of my apartment, where I’d be holed up inside, trying to memorize the Civil Code, hating life. The camel’s back finally broke after a fellow classmate introduced me to his wife/first cousin and they offered to share their family’s favorite recipe for smothered nutria. I cried for the entire semester. I missed home. You told me to pack up and get out if I wasn’t happy, and it was hard for me to absorb that idea, because I had always finished everything I started. I didn’t want to fail. But I left with no regrets, came home to New Orleans, traveled a bit and began Loyola Law School in the fall. I’m a lawyer today, thanks to you. And you’ve never offered to bake scrumptious nutria pie for me, and I thank you for it!

And that time you and Dad rode with me in the limo on the way to my wedding on November 11, 2000. Oh, Lord! I had been so calm and collected throughout all the months of wedding planning, and then, voilà! Whatever transpired in me the night before my wedding sent my nerves completely haywire the next morning. We brought a bucket along for that ride, and it wasn’t for champagne! I do know that whatever pearls of wisdom you told me during that ride worked, because I was cool as a cucumber for the ceremony and actually turned out to be a happy bride, enjoying my wedding day immensely, thanks to your kind words, Mom.

Your mom will enjoy reading your stories well after Mother’s Day has passed, and that’s why we’ll celebrate Mother’s Day again next year, so you can get another collection together for her. In the meantime, Happy Mother’s Day 2007 to all the mothers out there, and especially to you, Mom. Thanks for the memories