Mother’s Day Gift in the Pandemic As the young man comes closer than three feet to hand me a complementary Mother's Day gift bag, You may be killing me is what I think but do not say, feeling the heat of fury rise in my throat. I am trying to keep my mouth shut, hold my breath, my cotton mask no match for his youth and eagerness to provide cheerful customer service. He has on a mask, but somehow I can tell he's smiling— happy eyes. He’s high school age, maybe a bit older, wants to chat. Says he's going to go for lots of hikes. Never has he appreciated the sun so much since coronavirus, all this being trapped indoors. He seems so fervent and strong and maybe will have a whole life ahead of him. I hope so. Mine may be over soon now that his breath has come within the death radius. He glows with health. I have lived longer than I ever believed I would, an angsty teen thinking maybe I'd make it to 21. But the years passed with me still breathing. I see now even in the worst of times—with my grandmother dying, my violent husband trying to kill me, my father dying, my separation, divorce, my best friend dying, my brother dying— all of it was a gift I had little idea how to unwrap, how to make use of. Now as each day is a promise not made, I cherish the sweetness of this boy's optimism, my little puff of anger gone. I have never been a mother to any but four-legged creatures. Suddenly I have this lethal urge to hug this young man— Coronavirus be damned— tell him he is wonderful and loved and the world is better for his presence in it. I do neither. I don't know him. But I do wish him well and thank him for his heroism in this time. I hope the world will be the kind of mother he needs most. As for me, today is as good a last day on earth as any. Though I'd rather rain than this balmy sun. I've had a mere five decades to practice my humanity, still very much a work in progress. No one ever gets it completely right my Buddhist coach assures me. Last week she came close to being in a fatal auto accident. The sun was not so blameless then, blinding her as she came around a curve. Who would have thought us as fragile as we are against light and breath? Today I will pet my dogs and cats and hug my husband. Drink tea. Eat a ginger cookie or two. It will be enough. More than.