Everyday was Mother’s Day at my tutu’s house. My cousins and I loved to run up and down the stairs, pile on the carpet while eating homemade sweet rolls, and go on mischievous adventures with the neighbors.

Going to tutu’s house was a “spa day” for my mom and aunties — as they found a break to relax and socialize. Mother’s Day brings to me memories of families getting together, sharing meals and laughs, surrounding ourselves with community and play.

This year’s Mother’s Day cannot be a starker contrast.

My tutu has long passed. If she were alive, she would’ve been classified as highly at risk given her age and diabetes, and we would’ve spent this holiday apart.

The hardest thing about sheltering in place is the feeling of forced separations from our loved ones. We may exercise and shop while maintaining 6 feet apart, but suppressing quality times deprives us of feeling connected and loved, especially during special occasions.

Hawaii florists are back in business, too, just in time for Mother’s Day. Flickr: ruurmo

Barack and Michelle Obama are hosting multiple virtual commencements next Saturday to acknowledge this year’s graduation as different and memorable.

I believe we can do the same with Mother’s Day with the help of our hospitality and tourism partners, such as the following:

  • If your extended families, like mine, are not all in Hawaii, schedule a Mother’s Day brunch via Zoom and Skype. Pick up sushi-grade seafood with restaurant vendors that now sell directly to residents, or book a virtual cooking class, so you can be making and sharing the same recipes at the same time.
  • If you are the lucky ones with extended families in Hawaii, let your local chefs do the heavy chopping. Avoid lines and reservations by ordering takeout and delivery from the popular The Pig and The Lady and Kokohead Cafe, so your loved ones can celebrate with you with the same feast from the comfort of their homes.
  • A win/win proposal for hotel operators and local residents is for the hotels to provide a much needed COVID-19 “oasis” during this anxious time. Through higher cleaning standards, contactless check-in and in-room dining, and providing a peaceful staycation environment for families that crave relaxation and extended stay, hotels can reopen, jobs can be reinstated, while local residents are cared for first.

I see the hospitality and tourism industries as perfectly positioned to rise up to the challenge and provide the grounding hands as Hawaii reopens its economy.

The number one concern for our community is a sense of emotional normalcy, and operators are well equipped to fulfill this role.

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