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Local Editorials

Mother’s Day is a work day for me, and that’s how I like it

Mother’s Day is one of those days on the calendar that I try to avoid reading posts by friends, followers and other peoples on social media. It’s just too painful.

I lost my mom a few years ago, and for the most part, I’ve been able to deal with that. But days like Mother’s Day — along with certain holidays and the anniversary of her passing — they reopen a wound that is still far too fresh for me.

I hate that I can’t think of Mother’s Day, a day that was once so special to my mother and I, in a positive light, but it just brings up too many happy memories — memories that I can no longer build upon and add on to with her.

Personally, I thought maybe it was just an issue of mine, and that maybe I was the Mother’s Day version of “The Grinch,” but a Facebook post from my little cousin Shiya — who is like a sister and who lost her mom, my aunt Shon, in 2004 — let me know I’m not alone.

It’s not that people like Shiya, or myself, want to be “Debbie Downers,” it’s just a hard thing to watch so many happy people post pictures of themselves and their moms out to eat or opening gifts. For me, it’s a reminder that before I moved to Iowa, my last two Mother’s Day were spent at the cemetery.

But enough of the negativity. I want to share some of my good memories of Mother’s Day.

This past Sunday, which was the aforementioned holiday dedicated to all things motherly, I spent a good chunk of it working, as usual, and honestly, I felt great about that.

At one point in time, my mom was a small business owner. She owned a little stand at Ward Parkway Mall in Kansas City called “The Gift Basket Company.” I’ll never forget, because 1) I was forced to spend a ton of time there as a kid, and 2) I still find those business cards randomly at my relatives houses.

Even before she opened the stand, and after it closed, my mom specialized in creating every occasion gift baskets for clients and my very first job — an unpaid one at that — was being her delivery boy/assistant.

I’ve pretty much been in the gift basket industry since I was 6. I know what sells, where to get products cheaply, how to make ordinary items look extraordinary and yes, I may know how to properly arrange a gift basket.

So every Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day, my mom and I would be perched on a street corner in either Kansas City, Mo., or my beloved KCK, selling gift baskets to people who either forget to get a gift or wanted a great gift that was unique and stood out.

This was our tradition.

No matter how much I whined, complained and told her, “I don’t want to do this,” somehow I found myself on those corners selling those baskets with her — even after I moved out of the house.

As much as I detested sitting around schilling gift baskets for several hours a day during those big holiday weekends, I’d give anything in the world to do that again. I’m sure younger Ty would disagree; however, I can now see how special those moments were.

I don’t know if Mother’s Day will ever become less painful for me, but having a heavy workload on days like it just feels right to me. At least now I’m getting paid for my work on those days, and, as a bonus, I don’t smell like female bath and body products.

Senior staff writer Ty Rushing may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 426, or at

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