Try googling “definition of mom” and your search will probably turn up some of the following:

“One person who does the work of twenty. For Free.” (See also: masochist, loony, saint.)

ATM, Chauffeur, Chef, Storyteller, Cheerleader, Caregiver, Housekeeper, Nurse, Teacher, Hero, Mentor, Friend.”

“(1) Someone who sees the best in her kids even when they drive her crazy. (2) Unconditional love.” (See also: Superwoman.)

All of the above descriptions certainly apply when I think of my own mom and others I know. And too often, so much of what these amazing women do – day in and day out – goes unrecognized.

As a civilian volunteer with Blue Star Families, I had this in mind when I decided to organize an event to show appreciation to local military moms this Mother’s Day.

Without experiencing military life directly, it’s impossible to understand exactly what it’s like. Being a mom is hard enough, but I know that the burdens military families face must make being a mom that much harder. For spouses, there is the stress of frequent moves and single parenting during deployments. Moms on active duty may be separated from their kids for long stretches at a time. And for Gold Star and wounded warrior families, it takes a different kind of strength to make it through each day.

And yet – for all of the ways that military motherhood may be different and uniquely challenging – I think the bottom line when it comes to moms is pretty universal: They are the kind of everyday heroes that it’s hard to thank enough.

For this reason, I’m so glad Blue Star Neighbors in the D.C. area were recently able to come together and honor Blue Star and Gold Star moms and their kids over Mother’s Day weekend. We hosted an outing in D.C.’s Dupont Circle neighborhood for five families representing each military branch. Moms got a relaxing spa break while the kids painted a gift for them at a studio across the street, followed by a group lunch and the unveiling of those works of art!

A number of local businesses (The Kenjya-Trusant Group, Politemps, Whole Foods, Spa Logic, Art Jamz Studio, and La Tomate Restaurant) generously sponsored the event, making this fun tribute possible.

 

With all that BSF does to promote the arts through Blue Star Museums and other programs, I knew that I wanted art to be an element of our celebration, and I couldn’t imagine a more special gift for these moms. (My mom still has paintings from when I was in grade school hanging on our walls, and to this day, she is always reminding me of her love of homemade cards.)

I had an awesome time hanging out in the studio with the kids and was truly impressed by their talent and creativity! The results were a combination of family portraits, mom’s favorite things, and special memories – from Dr. Who and the Green Bay Packers, to the sea turtle hatchlings at Naval Station Mayport.

 

That said, my favorite part of the event was all of us gathering for lunch: getting to chat with everyone over great food, and best of all, witnessing the presentation of the master pieces just created!

It was wonderful getting to meet these terrific moms and their families, and I look forward to the next opportunity to celebrate and thank them for their service!

Written by: Emily Seen, Blue Star Neighbor and amazing BSF Volunteer!