This year, Mother's Day turned out to be three days of fun activities and celebration. Not all of the activities were planned to commemorate the day, but it sure worked out great for me. It a weekend of back-to-back outings and fun. My favorite kind of weekend!
Mother's Day weekend got off to a fabulous start on Friday evening with a rare Girls' Night out for me. Eva, one of my cherished high school friends invited me to accompany her to dinner and to the Walt Disney Concert Hall, to see and listen to the Symphony. None other than our charismatic conductor, Gustavo Dudamel, was conducting The Rite of Spring and Estanci. This was the last concert in a subscription that had belonged to Eva's parents for close to twenty years, dating back to when the concert hall first opened in 2003. The seats were magnificent, as was the concert, and the dinner beforehand. It was such a treat for me to get out, without the kids, for such a lovely adult evening to kick off the weekend.
On Saturday morning, we were up early and out of the house, headed to the Reagan Library, one of our favorite spots. We saw the new World War II exhibit that opened in April. You may notice in this photo that there are five children instead of the usual four. Read on to find out more...
Illia, my "fifth child," for the day, joined us. Illia, with eight of his family members, fled Ukraine three days after the war started. He and his family eventually ended up in the United States, first fleeing to Romania, then to Hungary, then to the Czech Republic, then to Mexico City, then to Tia Juana, and finally over the border to the United States. They are currently staying in Hidden Hills in a home that was temporarily provided to them. Illia, is 14 like Garin, and they are now classmates at AE Wright Middle School. They have forged a sweet friendship that means a lot to both of them. They meet up and ride bikes, go swimming, and do other fun things in the neighborhood. (Note Miles holding President Reagan's hand in this photo).
Seeing Air Force One (inisde and out) is always a highlight on this tour.
The Secrets of World War II exhibit was both extensive and impressive. They had an M4 Sherman tank on display, which rumor has it damaged the floors of the museum as it was driven in, due to its colossal weight. The artifacts on hand were fascinating and the collection was curated superbly.
The kids posed by this piece of the Berlin Wall as we stepped outside to enjoy the beautiuful day and fresh air.
No sooner did we step out, than we came upon this shocking sight, a massive rattlesnake! There were signs posted warning of their presence in the garden, but I don't take those warnings seriously, do you? I suppose I should given my all-too-frequent encounters these days with these goose-bump-enducing creatures. They seem to have become a part of my (if not daily, at least weekly) existence.
I quickly ran into the lobby to alert the staff of my sighting. I tried to be discreet, so as not to alarm the other guests at the library. However, a gentleman who was standing nearby and overheard my hushed, but somewhat panicked tone, yelled (in what seemed like an unnecessarily loud voice), "Rattlesnake on the lawn! Rattlesnake on the lawn!" Well, that certainly got everyone's attention, including the guards, who quickly came with their wrangling tools to transport him (or her) to a more safe location, away from the guests. My kids all and Illia all watched with fascination as the guards picked up this five-plus foot serpent. He hissed and rattled at them, but they seemed to take it in stride. I couldn't help but wonder if they get paid extra for this side gig of wrangling snakes. Illia was especially intriugued and expressed that he had never seen a real snake anywhere but a zoo. If I could be so lucky, Illia!
With the rattlesnake taken care of, we could relax and enjoy the perfect day and magnificent view before heading out to a delicious lunch.
On Saturday evening, we were invited to a neighbor's Bat Mitzvah. It was a dressy affair and since I don't often have occasion to dress up, Catherine offered to take Mother's Day portraits of me for posterity. These were my favorites.
The party was absolutely beautiful. It was held entirely outside in their sprawling backyard. The food was plentiful and scrumptious. There was dancing as well a great assortment of games and activities for the kids in which the kids could partake. We had a wonderful time and felt so fortunate to be included in this special celebration.
Mother's Day at last! I had three wishes for the day. The first was to not have to cook or clean (I guess that's two wishes, but I cheated and lumped them together). The second was to see the roses at Huntington Gardens, since we had missed them in mid-April, at their peak, because we were traveling for Spring Break. The third wish was for no one to bicker or whine for the entire day. At least the first two wishes were granted. The roses were magnificent and I spotted a few varieties that I don't yet have.
Everyone was famished after strolling the gardens, so we stopped at Green Street Cafe, in Pasadena, for a late lunch/early dinner. Our meal was delicous and also checked my box of not having to cook or clean.
Our last, and most important stop of the day, was to visit my mom and grandmother at the cemetery. We brought them a beautiful selection of pink roses picked from our garden. The kids also brought the handmade cards they had made for me for Mother's Day so that we could open them and "show Granny." I think Granny was very impressed with their artistic talents and incredible thougtfulness. This year marked my second Mother's Day without my mom, still hard, but ever so slightly easier than my first. Having four of the most kind and loving children certainly helps ease the pain of her absence.
Catherine and Miles wanted to show off some of their gymnastic moves to Granny. Granted this seemed a bit unorthodox in a cemetery, but since it was just about to close for the day and no one was around, I indulged them. I could hear Granny cheering from heaven.
Before departing, Catherine gave Granny and Great Granny their customary kisses goodbye. As the kids walked to the car, I spent a few minutes alone with my mom, which was nice for both of us.
A belated Happy Mother's Day to all the selfless, hardworking and dedciated mothers out there. I have the deepest respect and admiration for each and every one of you.