Opinion: Finding Meaning


Dia de Madres

By Skip Hellewell

I’ve been thinking how to safely resume our tradition of Sunday family dinners. They’ve been a highlight of my life for three generations, beginning at my grandmother’s home in Lincoln, CA. Grandpa was there too, but Grandma made it special. Lincoln was a sleepy railroad town then, perfect for boyhood exploration with my cousin Barry. We explored the old high school where my father played tennis despite his crippled hip, threw rocks at passing trains, and chased lizards in the town cemetery. But the highlight was to gather around the table, bow our heads in prayer, and enjoy her home cooking while aunts and uncles discussed the issues of the day.

My mother, who turned 100 this year, continued the tradition with our large family of 10 children. She had seven children and finished rearing three cousins after their parents died. Dad was there too, but Mom made it special. You could invite your friends to stay for dinner, there was always room for one more, or invite a girlfriend to meet the family. The history of our family could be written from those Sunday dinners.

The Beautiful Wife has continued the Sunday dinner tradition. I’m there too, but it’s the BW that makes it special. Four of our children, including 15 grandchildren, live nearby and we gather for a rotating potluck dinner on alternate Sundays. The grandchildren, at their own table, are quick eaters; they want to get back to their games. This gives the moms and dads plenty of time to catch up with the issues of the day.

These Sunday dinners have been a bonding experience for the three generations of my life. The coronavirus caused a several-month-long interruption so I’m anxious to get back together safely. My idea was to plan a belated Cinco de Mayo dinner for this coming Sunday. The BW thought that was nice, but politely reminded that it was also Mothers’ Day. I’m not the best at remembering the special days so I appreciate her reminders. In a flash of inspiration, I renamed the proposed dinner “Dia de Cinco Madres.”

I’m thinking about visiting the grandchildren this week, respecting social distancing, and ask each of them what is special about their mother and grandmother and invite them to express their love. We’ll make a video to play at our Mothers’ Day dinner, to honor their uplifting influence on our lives.

Russell M. Nelson, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spoke to the influence of women noting the importance of their unique moral compass. He saw them as “society’s guardians of morality” and warned that “if the world loses the moral rectitude of its women, the world would never recover.” The BW and I wish a happy Mothers’ Day to all women who mother—the world would not survive without you. There’s meaning in that.

Skip fell in love with Laguna on a ‘50s surfing trip. He’s a student of Laguna history and the author of “Loving Laguna: A Local’s Guide to Laguna Beach.” Email:  skip@lovinglaguna.

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