Families at different points in their lives celebrated Mother's Day in Cape Girardeau in ways that made mothers feel special, from simple gifts at a picnic to continuing family traditions.
Kay Kesterson, 49, of Cape Girardeau visited her mother's grave at the Cape County Memorial Park. Her husband, Paul, 51, and granddaughter, Dakota Kesterson, 9, went with her. Her mother, Mildred Sander, died in September 1999.
In keeping with one of her mother's lessons, Kesterson said that she has taught her three sons to always respect their mother and tell her that they love her.
Now, her sons "always have so much respect for me," she said, her eyes beginning to tear. "Now I'm glad I told her I loved her all the time, because now I can't."
Winifred Golightly coordinated a picnic at Cape County Park North for the members of Parents Without Partners, a national organization for single parents and their children. Unlike years past, no other members attended this year, possibly because they chose to spend Mother's Day with their own parents, Golightly said. Activities that involve children usually have the largest attendance.
So, the 56-year-old grandmother of Cape Girardeau relaxed with daughter Roxanne Brown, 37, of Benton, Mo., who brought her son, Steven Brown, 12, and future stepson Patrick Kasten, 9.
Steven gave his mother two candles. Patrick made a bookmark for Roxanne Brown, and his reason for why she is special surprised his future stepmother.
"She's my mom," he said quietly.
Roxanne Brown gave a handmade card with a poem to "the only parent I've ever known," she said.
"She's always there, for the good and the bad," she said, listing what she appreciated most about her mom. "She's my best friend."
For Todd and Amanda Wheeler, Mother's Day is a day to relax. By midafternoon, the couple had already held a barbecue with extended family and walked through Westfield Shoppingtown West Park with daughter Harley, 16 months, and son Levi, 5 months.
"I'm a pretty average guy," said Todd Wheeler, 27. "I'm not good at all that expression stuff."
So he helped his 21-year-old wife with their children, which doesn't happen often because his job keeps him busy.
"I already ran into the poopy diaper," he said. "That was a show stopper."
For Charlotte Arneson, 44, of Oak Ridge and Brandi Arneson, 23, of St. Louis, the Mother's Day tradition is to receive manicures and pedicures at L.A. Nails in the mall.
Brandi Arneson tries to visit her mother about twice a month, and her mother usually has some advice, which she said is what she appreciates most about her mother.
Charlotte Arneson surprised her daughter by saying every day is Mother's Day.
"It's not like being a mother with her," she said. "It's like being a best friend."
As parents of two older teenagers, Nick and Brigitte Thiele of Kennett, Mo., were able to spend about fours hours together, keeping their tradition of dinner and a bookstore.
While his wife was still browsing through books, Nick Thiele said his wife of 22 years is "terrific."
"She's our glue," he said. "She's the one who holds us together and keeps us where we need to be."
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