This blog post was written as a special Mother’s Day tribute by SmartyPits founder Stacia Guzzo.
Mother’s Day can be a day full of emotions for many people—some happy, some sad, some nostalgic or wistful or maybe even hurt. This year in particular, though, it’s especially emotional given the current situation with COVID-19 and many people under quarantine recommendations or choosing to self-quarantine. I think for everyone this year, Mother’s Day will come with bittersweetness of some sort.
Most of you know that SmartyPits has at its core the story of my mother and her experience with breast cancer, which eventually led me to early attempts to create an aluminum-free deodorant for myself. Even though my mom wasn’t a part of the formulation of SmartyPits or the creation of the company itself, her breast cancer experience has always been at the heart of the business.
My mom’s experience with breast cancer, and the impact it had on our family, was a turning point for the way I saw pretty much every holiday. No longer were holiday celebrations taken for granted—no longer did I assume we’d have another one together.
The same went for those little moments—and I think many mother/daughter pairs experience this—where we drove each other a little crazy. The maddening things felt more insignificant. It became easier to laugh things off instead of let them get under my skin. After all, I found myself wondering…what really, really matters?
I think these days, in the coronavirus era, many of us are feeling a similar feeling. I’ve seen posts on my social media that talk about how much more meaningful hugs will be after this is all over. I know my kids are sure looking forward to being able to hug their grandparents again (we’re not taking any chances since my mom is immuno-compromised).
But I’m also counting the blessings of this time. I’m grateful for the incredible gift of technology—of video chats available any time of day or night, from the palm of our hands. I’m grateful that I can buy my mom a gift online and have it delivered to her, and be able to virtually be there to see her open it. I’m grateful that social media keeps me connected to the rest of humanity, and am comforted by the knowledge that this is a shared experience, and that I’m not alone in my frustration or fear (or even hope).
Mother’s Day for me, this year, will be about moments. Moments of bittersweetness of missing being with my own mom. Moments of gratitude of holding my sons close to my chest. And most of all, having the strange combination of comfort and sadness in knowing that no matter what, these moments are all fleeting. Every single one will be a memory soon enough…and so I want to find the happy parts in them even amidst the struggle.
These many beautiful days cannot be lived again, but they are compounded in my own flesh and spirit, and I take them in full measure toward whatever lies ahead.
– Daniel Berrigan, SJ