Anyone that knows my mother knows that she is a giver.  She gives of herself to her family and gives of herself to her community.  It is the rare Petaluma non-profit that doesn’t have her on their roster of volunteers.  She is the first one they call when they need someone smart, caring, and energetic.  And she doesn’t care what the task is, she fills in where ever she is needed.  Whether it is handle tickets sales at the Great Petaluma Chili Cookoff, directing traffic in the Cinnabar Theater parking lot, or serving drinks at PEP Housing or COTTS event, she is always there to help and always makes people laugh in the process.

She has taught our family a great deal about what it means to care about those around us.  We were recently reminded of this when my aunt faced some medical issues.  Although technically not a blood relative, she was the first person my mother met when she moved to San Francisco in the mid 1960’s, and has always been as much of an aunt to my family as anyone.  Her conditions were not life threatening, but my mother decided to focus the energy she would normal volunteer around town on my Auntie Kate.  The organizations she normally volunteered with were fully staffed, so she spent her extra time helping Auntie Kate with her daily chores.  She would take Auntie Kate shopping, to the saloon, and out for lunch.  Whatever errands Auntie Kate needed to run, my mom would do the driving, the door opening, and the heavy lifting.  The two hour round trip commute to San Francisco each day didn’t even phase my mother because she knew how important it was to be there for Auntie Kate..

Little did we know how important this would all be.  Auntie Kate suffered an unexpected heart attack during that time and luckily, my mother was able to comfort her through her final hours.

Auntie Kate’s final year could have been desperate, painful, and lonely but it wasn’t because my mom knew where she was needed and stepped in without question.  This meant a lot to Auntie Kate, to her family, and to my family.

To me, helping those around us is as important to shaping our community as anything.  It is inspiring that my mother would recognize where her extra time could best be spent.  Even if it would not normally be considered “volunteering” it certainly qualified as “giving back to the community” for none of us kids would have turned out to be the people we are without the influence of people like Auntie Kate.  And we wouldn’t have had people like Auntie Kate in our lives without my mother.

I am proud of my mom and what she does for her family and her community.  I feel very lucky to have learned the lessons I have (so far) and now that I am a bit older, to have become great friends with my mom.  I enjoy every day I get to see my mom, always have a great time running erands or simply hanging out with her while she watches her grandkids, and hope to have many, many, more Mother’s Days to celebrate with her.

Now I’m off to her house to help with breakfast.  …I wonder if this year’s last minute web-searched Hollandaise Sauce recipe will be as good as last years.

Happy Mother’s Day Ma