Twice a year, (on Mothers Day and on her birthday July 7th), my mother used to pull out her favorite phrase and say, “Attention must be paid.”
Translation? She wanted to be celebrated, and that meant The Hotel Bel Air, Sunday best, family only, no friends or ‘strangers’ pulling focus on her closeup.
Her use of the phrase drove me crazy, because of course Linda Loman’s lament was about aging and the lack of human kindness shown her salesman husband Willie, not my glamorous complicated mother on the palm-laden patio holding court.
But champagne in hand surrounded by at least two of her children with at least two of her grandchildren in tow, she got what she needed....a toast, “ To the Queen of the Day.”
Attention had been paid. Deep down I knew what Mom meant. And she knew I knew.
No more so than one Mothers Day years later, when neither of my adored teenage children had called me before the sun went down. The fact that they were in Providence, RI and London, and both had good excuses, did not get them off the hook.
In fact, embolden by countless memories of my mother smiling with glee as her pride dug into Eggs Benedict and stuffed the contents of the bread basket into our purses to illegally feed the swans at the Bel Air Hotel pond, I rang each of my kids to say, “ It’s Mothers Day and I’m not calling to make you feel bad, I’m calling to teach you that, “ Attention must be paid!”
My mother, myself? I only know that now she’s gone, I’d give anything to raise one more glass.
The Bel Air Hotel's Mother's Day Brunch is SOLD OUT for this year.... but check out the menu, YUM and there’s always next year...
Holly Palance has been a columnist for BUZZ Magazine, The Editor-in Chief of Santa Barbara Magazine and Editor-in-Chief of Distinction Magazine at the LA Times. She is now President of PALANCE et Al, a media consulting firm - her clients include Direct Relief International, The Santa Barbara Vintners Foundation and The Santa Barbara Film Festival.