In my mind's eye, Mother's Day has always been about my mother, despite the fact that mom has been gone for nearly 22 years now. For many years I could not even look at the Mother's Day cards in the stores because I would start to cry. I am finally at the point that I can purchase the card for my mother-in-law each year now. But I miss my mom every single day, and Mother's Day just seems to bring that ache a little closer to the surface.
This year, like last year, I did not have either of my children here for "my" day. Fortunately my sister's son Joe has organized a family picnic for the last several years. So Jim and I gather with my sister and her husband, their children and their grandchildren. Joe married a woman with three grown children, so they come with their spouses and grandchildren as well. Then there are a couple of miscellaneous in-laws thrown in for good measure. I think we had about 21 people attend this year.
But before we headed out to the park, we met up with my sister and brother-in-law at the World Bird Sanctuary (WBS) in Valley Park. None of us had been before, but we had a special reason for making the trip on Mother's Day. This bird sanctuary is where my little owl Hootie was taken by the conservation agent. We were hoping to catch a glimpse of him, because an email I sent to the WBS was answered by the director of operations with the information that Hootie was okay and was in a cage with three other juvenile Barred owls. He added that Hootie would be released some time in June.
The WBS is quite an interesting place, and I definitely want to go back when we have more time and it isn't so hot. We walked the trail looking at all the birds, but saw no sign of a cage with four Barred owls in it. We thought maybe Hootie was the little owl we were able to see through the hospital window, but the date on the cage was wrong. As luck would have it, a volunteer came by the window so I was able to ask him about Hootie. He pulled the chart that lists all the birds and their arrival dates. He was able to tell us that Hootie's cage is down in the valley in the propagation area, away from the visitor's path. This area is for birds who will be released to the wild, so they don't want them to have too much human contact. That makes perfect sense, but I was a little saddened by the fact that I didn't get to see him for myself. We left a donation at the WBS to help with his care, and then headed on over to the park for the picnic.
We had a very nice time, and the breeze picked up fortunately so it wasn't too hot. Both of my children called me, so I guess I did feel like a mother after all. Happy Mother's Day, mom! Love you!