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Mother's Day, the Durham Way

Estimated Read Time:
2 minutes

House mother. Grandmother. Your neighbor-teacher-nurse-mother. No matter the role of the special female figure in your life, make her feel special this year.

Posted By Ashley Strahm

Mother's Day is upon us, and in one way or another, we all have reasons to celebrate this special day. Here in Durham, we're thinking about all of the female figures in our lives, emblematic of the best in humans who create new life, memories, and joy for folks everywhere. We're in awe of the ways these matriarchs have been caring for families in the midst of crisis, both in and out of the home, in various capacities.

We're all about those among us who embody the spirit of motherhood. So while the inspiration is still there, we may have to do things a little differently this time. That’s fine with us; motherhood takes many different forms in the Bull City. Sometimes it's joint business ventures like the one between Megan and her mother Margaret at The Zen Succulent (above).

Sometimes it's people like J. Clapp (a.k.a. Vivica Coxx) — executive director of the LGBTQ Center of Durham and the matriarch of the House of Coxx. They have served as a mother figure to those not fortunate enough to have a traditional, accepting family. Vivica exemplifies the inclusive spirit of the Bull City (below).

Vivica Coxx

Photo credit: Riley Maclean Photography

We've put together a few Durham-specific ways to honor your mom this time around (and some you can do well after the holiday has passed). More than ever, let's toast to her this year.

Feed. Her.

She's probably never been bashful about wanting to keep you happy, healthy, and well fed. Regardless of who cooked in your family, mom deserves some good eats on her special day, so lets not be bashful about doing some double duty with a delicious purchase from a local restaurant or cafe.

Coffee beans, tea leaves, fresh fries, sauces and sweets await. If you're lucky enough to share space with your ma, wow her in the kitchen with some culinary hacks from Durham's James Beard nominated chefs, or have some local dishes delivered to her front door.

Send her your favorite Durham swag

Online shopping is still a thing, y'all, and local businesses need it more than ever. Check out our curated list of retailers willing to bring the goods to you.

Binge your favorite (Durham-inspired) shows

Even if you're on separate couches at this particular time, there's always the binge-recap-repeat cycle we're all doing virtually ... and there's no better time than this. We've got a list of our favorite big and small screen films and shows that remind us of Durham here. Make it fun: while you recap on your favorite episodes virtually,we created custom Durham-themed Zoom backgrounds. Surprise her by using one of her favorite locations.

Make sure she's got her Bull City gear

When it's time to reunite again, you're going to want mom to be representing the same Durham style you've come to know and love. From Runaway to Hometown Apparel, and Parker and Otis, you can absolutely make sure she's got what she needs to step out in style this summer.

Preserve those beautiful moments

Mother's Day isn't simple or celebratory for everyone, and we'd be remiss if we didn't honor those of us who cannot celebrate in the traditional sense with their mothers this year. Celebrating whomever has made an impact in your life on this day is okay too, and preserving the moments that have meant the most seems like an apt way to do so. There are socially distanced ways to articulate this: painting a portrait of you and that special someone who has cared, supported, and nurtured you over the years, or digitally curating an album of your favorite memories and sharing them on social media (especially with us!)

The gift that keeps on giving

Can’t take mom to brunch/lunch/afternoon tea or whatever tradition your family had in play pre-COVID? Send her a gift card, whether it be for a favorite restaurant or a favorite retailer (cotton candy is delicious year round!) – trust us, she’ll thank you for it (and if you’re lucky, share it with you).

Do it up at DPAC

Don your Sunday best and take mom to the theatre — yep, you read it right. DPAC may have suspended all performances but they’re still offering patrons of the arts a taste via their YouTube channel, DPACLive. Plus, they have Instagram Live Q&A interviews with Broadway stars, virtual backstage tours, Zoom masterclasses and more!

Make Your way to her heart (with art, of course!)

Remember those masterpieces you made that adorned mom’s fridge only to resurface years later in a drawer? We’re not suggesting you make handprint paintings again but you could support the sisterhood with a DIY art kit from female-owned AR Workshop, get art delivered to her door from 5 Points Gallery, or commission a local female Durham artist such as Candy Carver or Amy May Pop Art for a custom-made piece. Do more of the good by supporting local artists as they adjust to this new virtual landscape, including donating to one of the artist relief funds in her honor.

Take a (virtual) tour

The Durham Museum of History has been posting scavenger hunts on their blog that will guide you and mom through some of the sources they use to help explore Durham’s history. In case you missed them, exploring changes to Durham's landscape with Open Durham, browse historic yearbooks through DigitalNC, and enjoy a postcard collection and online Civil Rights exhibit from the North Carolina Collection. There is always the incredible Durham 360 AR virtual tour you can take at any time, anywhere.

Pamper her

Light that Bright Black candle, indulge in an at-home bespoke facial, or maybe even an at-home spa day with local products from Bulldega Urban Market. The day is rife with opportunities for self-care, even if they’re done from afar. If you’re close enough to tend her garden in the afternoon, why not bring some plants from a local Durham nursery to plant at a distance while she’s sitting on her patio chilling? At the very least, have some local Durham spirits delivered to her door to keep her spirits high, y’all.

At the end of the day, Durham-influenced treasures for your mom are bound to make her feel like she's slayed the holiday. Whatever you do, love on her.

About the Author

Ashley Strahm

Jersey roots, Durham fruits. Lover of all things edible, egalitarian and true. Find me clad in Birkenstocks, seeking Bull City Beautiful stories by trail, wheel and spoke.