Every Saturday morning, yard sales generously pepper neighborhoods across the Southland. From the colonial fences of San Marino to the drought-resistant gardens of Venice, Angelenos will eagerly haggle over your refuse. And as a card-carrying member of the minimalist movement, my wife, Kate, likes to host the occasional yard sale to get rid of our clutter. Here’s my take on this year’s Mother’s Day in Los Angeles for Kate, my wife.
On a recent Saturday, we were at it again. Most of our family members poured sour milk on our plans, saying “That’s a lot a work for $150 … if you’re lucky.” But this yard sale’s value was far more than monetary. It gave me an unexpected and poignant view of our past four years as parents. When an eager young family snatched Hank and Leo’s baby clothes off the grass, Kate started to cry. Motherhood has challenged her minimalist philosophy.
I gazed at the toys and clothes that once consumed this young mother. She’s been doing the job for three years and is doing it so well – all while working full time and suffering the Millennial Dad. With Mother’s Day right around the corner, I wondered: How can I make Mother’s Day 2018 the best for Kate? With three years of experience at this special holiday, I have learned to put my own visions aside and focus on what holds meaning to her. The key to making this Hallmark day más especial is to cater to the individual.
Plants Over Flowers
You can have the bouquet delivered to the Mrs. at work, sure – and believe me, I have done it. However, is that really what she wants? Kate is a plant lover, so I’ve learned to make a trip to Rolling Greens in Culver City instead of the local florist. A Kate favorite? The dieffenbachia, which is known as one of the easiest house plants to grow – and keep alive. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
Chocolates are at once a hackneyed gift and an enormous crowd pleaser. But I am not here to please the crowds. I have to think about pleasing Kate, who dislikes sweets but enjoys bitter – very bitter – chocolate. Since no one has yet made an 80/20 dark chocolate bar infused with horseradish, I have to get creative. Compartes Chocolates in Century City hits the cocoa target the closest. Kate will likely bite into one square of single-origin South American cacao and move on to the next Mother’s Day treat.
For Kate, Mother’s Day is not about going out and celebrating. It is the intimacy of family and parenthood that makes Mother’s Day special to her. So, I’ll skip restaurant reservations and make breakfast myself. Perhaps I’ll let Hank, who’s 3, help me whip up some eggs and slice some avocados. That afternoon, I might sneak off and pick up a green smoothie at Kreation Organic Kafe & Juicery in Santa Monica. I’ll slip past the yoga moms, grab the spinach-laden beverage and get back home in no time to present it to Kate.
The Perfect Setting
No Mother’s Day is complete without, you know, spending time with your children. My wife especially enjoys strenuous outdoor activity, so I’ll pair hiking with the strenuous grind of raising toddlers. The key is finding a fire road with significant elevation gain. Kate and I will take turns pushing the double B.O.B. up the hills at Brand Park in Glendale. The Brand Fire Road saddles the ridge. It’s a good place to thank the mother of your children and take in everything on the horizon – a view as vast and varied as motherhood itself. Happy Mother’s Day, Kate!
Isaac Parfrey is a writer, composer and L.A. native who enjoys roaming Southern California with his wife, Kate, and sons, Hank and Leo. Follow him on Twitter @IsaacParfrey.