Reflecting on Being a Mom

We share Mother’s Day thoughts from patients in a year like no other.

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Rare disease patients and their families learn how to adjust and adapt to difficult circumstances, so it’s no surprise that they’re making the best out of Mother’s Day 2020.

We checked in with three moms - two patients and a longtime caregiver - who said they’ll find ways to enjoy Mother’s Day even though it comes with restrictions.

Melaine Zeigler likes to spend part of Mother’s Day buying flowers for her garden, but this year the primary immunodeficiency patient won’t be going out. She’s been in self-isolation for seven weeks because her husband is a retail pharmacist. Primary immunodeficiency means a person has one of the 300+ rare diseases caused by a problem in the immune system. Many patients who have PI have been taking extra precautions to avoid contracting COVID-19.

But Zeigler says Mother’s Day will bring some togetherness, finally, while following the rules of social distancing. She expects to grill outdoors with her husband and youngest son and FaceTime with her oldest son and his girlfriend on a group call.

“I will also FaceTime with my sweet Mom who lives in North Carolina. We will all enjoy being together via technology,” Ziegler said. “A new tradition being together from afar.” 

Lynne Doebber, a primary immunodeficiency patient in North Carolina, also has a tradition of gardening on Mother’s Day. She plans to do some planting and fill pots with flowers that will bloom in pink, fuchsia, purple and red – to attract the butterflies. Doebber has made it annual tradition to also plant a pot filled with her late mother’s favorite flowers. On Mother’s Day, the hummingbird feeder will go up and Doebber will do some work on the stream that runs through her yard.

“Getting very dirty is part of the fun, but I love it and feel accomplished when I am done,” Doebber said.

Doebber’s “kids,” now in their 40s, and the grandchildren will connect with her via video call.

Lori Kunkel, a Minnesota mom to three adult sons who have hemophilia, plans to (safely) see Jeff, Brady and Cody, who live nearby and are all first responders. Learn more about the Kunkel family in this video.

This year’s Mother’s Day will have fewer hugs and group celebrations, but maybe more time to reflect on what it means to be a mom. Here’s what these three moms had to say:

Melaine Zeigler
Melaine Zeigler

Zeigler: “My favorite part of being a Mom is the newly cultivated adult relationships with our 20-something grown men. I am learning a new way of parenting. Still being the cheerleader and encourager for these amazing young men is a true blessing.” 

PI patient Lynne Doebber at work in her stream
Lynne Doebber
Doebber: “What I find the most rewarding is when they call, not only for advice or to talk out issues bothering them, but when they call to share joy and hear your voice. That is special, the real cream to savor.”
Lori Kunkel
Lori Kunkel
Kunkel: “With each child we have. we worry if we will have enough love. But we always do. Just when you think you can't love another human being any more, your children promote you to being a grandmother. Then your heart explodes!”