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Navigating Mother's Day During the Coronavirus Pandemic

I Can't Wait to Be Able to Give Mi Mamá a Hug Again

Image Source: Maria G. Valdez

The second Sunday of May hasn't affected me in the almost nine years that I've been living in the United States. In the Dominican Republic, Mother's Day is celebrated the last Sunday of May, so that's the day I would FaceTime my mom to find my family together having lunch and congratulate all the mamás there.

This year, however, something is different. American Mother's Day is coming at me hard. I hear my friends' plans of surprising their mothers by showing up at their houses to drop off flowers or presents, or just to see them in person — at a distance — and tell them they love them. I wish I could do that. I wish seeing my mom were as easy as driving to her house.

Yes, technology is great, and before this pandemic, that's how I'd join in the celebrations back home. But I also knew when I'd be back in the DR hugging and kissing everyone, telling them about my adventures in New York City, and, obviously, dodging the "Y el novio?" question young Latinas are bombarded with the minute we step into a room full of our relatives.

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Image Source: Robert Vasquez Photography

Today, I don't know for sure when I'll be able to see my parents in person. I do know this will pass, and I do know flying will eventually become second nature to me again. But in the meantime, the uncertainty of the when is making me feel more nostalgic than ever.

I haven't seen my mother since January, when I was lucky enough to celebrate my birthday and her birthday — they happen to be in the same week — back home. We hugged tight and said our I-love-yous before I left for the airport, not knowing it would be the last time for a while we'd be able to embrace like that.

I miss her so much. Like most Latinas, I rely a lot on mi mamá. She's my rock, my confidante. She's the person I call when I need anything, when I need to talk to someone, when I need advice, or when I want to celebrate a milestone or accomplishment. She's been my biggest cheerleader and supporter throughout my whole life, even when I wasn't the best daughter.

When NYC started closing down, I called her and told her that toilet paper, paper towels, and any form of disinfectant were scarce in the city. In true Latina mom form, she found all three and shipped them to me the next day so that I wouldn't need anything. I still don't know how she did it.

Image Source: Maria G. Valdez

She's unstoppable and powerful, and she'll stop at nothing until she knows my siblings and I are taken care of. She reminds us to wear masks and gloves if we need to go outside for any reason and keeps us in check with the grocery items we need to get so we have just what we need throughout the week.

My mom is the type of person that will really leave a mark on your life if you meet her, and that mark is exponentially bigger on me, her daughter. That's why not being able to hug her, kiss her, or even see her in person is hitting me a little harder this Mother's Day, and I know I'm going to go through the same range of emotions on Dominican Mother's Day, as my Dominican friends and I get creative in order to surprise our moms.

Don't get me wrong, we'll most likely do a Zoom lunch and have a wonderful time, laughing, reminiscing, and planning for the future, but I can't wait for the time when I get to see my mom in person and give her the biggest hug of my life.

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