Kat liked the cats. She wasn’t crazy about the dogs.
“Last year, I hid clues around the house for this party with all my pets,” said Lia Richter, 10, about the Mother’s Day party she planned last year for her mother, Kat Richter. “Mom liked the surprise. But the dogs barked a lot.”
Lia, a fifth-grade student at the Brown School in Schenectady, will thank her dogs to be quiet today, and thank her mother for summer trips, rides to the mall, Friday-night pizza and birthday presents. For Mother’s Day, sons and daughters around the Capital Region will appreciate and celebrate top women in their lives with words and deeds.
“It’s not just important for little kids — sometimes it comes easier to little kids, I’m thinking from the little ones to the teenagers to even myself — it’s nice to recognize that our moms need to be in the spotlight every once in a while,” said Patti Vitale, head of school at Brown. “They’ve been there for us, and it sometimes gets harder as we get older, I think the little ones, it’s sometimes much more natural to say ‘Thank you,’ ‘I love you’ and ‘You’re the main thing in my life.’ ”
Vitale said she can tell when Mother’s Day week has arrived at Brown. “They’re our best weed controllers here,” she said. “They’re picking our dandelions to bring home.”
Miss Richter, who lives in Loudonville, is glad she has a lady in charge around her home.
“Moms are really important, they do a lot for you,” she said. “If they didn’t do a lot for you, you wouldn’t be who you are now.”
A day of harmony
Other 10-year-old Brown fifth-graders were thinking about May days for their moms. For Juliette Syta, Mother’s Day is a day for harmony inside her Schenectady home. Her brother Matthew, 4, and sister Claire, 7, will be on best behaviors for mom Cheryl. “They won’t be attacking me with pillows for once,” said the good-natured big sister. “As long as I don’t have my glasses on, it’s OK.”
Like other kids, Juliette thinks she occasionally takes her mother for granted. That’s why she’s glad for the second Sunday in May. “It’s one day I can remind myself she’s a really special person in my life,” she said.
Schenectady’s Luke Pezzano agrees with Juliette. He said he and his sister Molly, 12, will try to make today as “easy as possible” for their mother, Michele. “She doesn’t like breakfast in bed,” Luke said. “My dad and I are going to make her breakfast, I’m going to set the table for her.”
Ariella Kuhn, who also lives in Schenectady, doesn’t mind when mother Judith Lewin persuades her to do her homework. Ariella knows it’s the right course of action. “She helps me understand and do the homework,” she said. “I’ll be a better person if I do the homework ... and she likes doing the homework. Both of my parents are English professors.”
Duanesburg’s Henry Smith also thinks his mother, Suzanne, deserves her own day on the calendar. “She does everything for me,” he said. “She’s a really, really great person ... I don’t say ‘Thanks’ a lot, but I say ‘Thanks a lot’ on Mother’s Day.”
Teens mark day, too
Teenagers also have a line on Mother’s Day. Alexis Giacumo, 16, a sophomore at Mohonasen High School in Rotterdam, believes small acts of kindness count when teens show appreciation for their moms.
“You always care about your mother and do nice stuff for her all the time,” Alexis said. “Even if it’s cleaning up for her or buying little things like flowers for her.”
Giacumo is part of Jean Vause’s “family and consumer science” class at Mohonasen, in which teens learn how to become good parents. Vause said mothers can find themselves in tough spots with teenagers, because they must make family rules and occasionally enforce them.
“There will be times when they won’t like their parents very much,” Vause said. “But they’ll always love them.”
Patricia August, 16, another Mohonasen sophomore, believes most teenagers care about their mothers and want to make sure they’re remembered on Mother’s Day. “She’s an important person in your life,” Patricia said. “A lot of kids should be lucky they have parents because a lot of kids don’t have parents.”
Mom, the confidante
Gabrielle Amedore, 17, a Mohonasen junior, said her mother, Sarah, is also a confidante. “Whenever I want to talk to her, she listens,” Gabrielle said. “She has so much love for me. You can just see it ... in a simple hug.”
Amber Nicholson, 16, wants to thank her mother, Linda, for all the extras. “I work out in Duanesburg, she drives me there, even though she doesn’t have to,” said Amber, a sophomore. “She goes out of her way to do stuff for me. So I just want to pay her back ... I always say ‘Thank you for helping me, I love you,’ all the necessary stuff you would say to a mom.”
She thinks other kids take advantage of their mothers. “Like, ‘Take me here, take me there, drive me to the mall, buy me this, buy me that,” Nicholson said.
Sophomore Mikayla DuFresne, 15, expects to be a mother some day, and has learned some things from her mother: “Never be too strict, never,” she said. “She lays the law down but she’s not mean about it. She explains why and she’s reasonable with it. She does everything she can for me and I know that she does.”
Mikayla said her mother, Sandy, is always at her soccer games. “She cheers me on,” she said. “Every mother should be treated like a queen, because they kind of are.”
Soccer attendance may seem like a small deal, but for kids, it’s a big deal.
“She never misses a game ... it makes me feel so good,” Mikayla said.
Like other teens, Dakota Jackson wants to help his mother, Colleen, around the house today. He said the chores are not duties he has to do — but assignments he wants to do.
“My mom’s always been there for me,” said Dakota, 17. “She always embarrasses me, that’s their job as parents, telling funny stories about me to my friends and girlfriend.”
For third-grade students at St. Madeleine Sophie School in Guilderland, Mother’s Day is part of spring lessons at the Roman Catholic school of 178 students in grades pre-kindergarten through five.
“We definitely hold it with importance,” said Principal Kelly Sloan. “The kids make cards and each class makes a gift for their mothers. We always tie it into May — in Catholic schools, May is the month of Mary, that’s why we have our May crowning. We especially honor our mothers, but we always tie it into Mary, the mother of Jesus.”
Molly Maloney, 9, of Niskayuna plans to give her mother, Joy, a watch today. “She likes watches,” she said. “I’ll hug her and say ‘Thank you’ and ‘I love you,’ ” Molly said. Phoebe Olmer, 8, of Schenectady, will also present a present today. “I’ll get her a hair clip,” she said. “She runs out of those.”
Phoebe is glad to have the chance to thank her mother for a year’s worth of clothing, meals, allowances and kisses good night. “It’s a time when you get to celebrate your mother,” she said, adding she tries to help Jennifer Olmer with chores around the house. That includes caring for all the family pets.
“We have three fish tanks, a dog, two cats and a lizard — Skippy,” Phoebe said.
Most mothers find time for fun and games around the house. Emily Page, 8, of Rotterdam, said her mother, Kristen, is great with “Hedbanz,” an object identification game. “And Scrabble,” she said. “I’m horrible, so she pretty much wins. And then she likes chess. I love chess ... and I win a lot.”
Bohdan Kinal, 9, of Berne, is happy kids — and parents — have a Mother’s Day to celebrate.
“It’s a really big deal for me,” he said. “My mother takes me to my grandmother’s, we go my other grandmother’s house too. We’ll bring flowers and other presents. Sometimes, we’ll have a cake for Mother’s Day ...we’ll have a big feast.”
Food is also part of the celebration at Nicolena Rush’s house in Scotia. “We get to go to a fancy restaurant and get to give her presents and see her face,” said Nicolena, 9, of Guilderland.
If there were no Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, Nicolena believes people would adapt. “I guess we’d just give them extra presents at Christmas,” she said.
Sloan said students will remember their dads on Father’s Day.
“Mother’s Day seems to be a little bit of a bigger deal,” she said. “For Father’s Day, the moms kind of help out to honor the fathers. Sometimes, Dads need a little help from us to honor the mothers the right way.”
Reach Gazette reporter Jeff Wilkin at 395-3124 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.