By Rebecca McCarthy
What must it be like for children to see other children buying Mother’s Day flowers and gifts when they have no mother at home? What if a father’s military career has him deployed out of the country on Father’s Day?
Other’s Day may be the perfect celebration for children coping with the loss of a parent because of divorce, death or temporary separation. For the past five years, it has offered children and their caretakers or guardians a joyful way to celebrate and remember loved ones.
Ty Klein, 13, was 7 the first time he attended Other’s Day. He didn’t know what to expect, but things turned out better than he thought they would.
He said he met “kids like me who had experienced no parents. They knew how awful I felt. We had a lot of fun together.”
Ty has since been adopted by his foster family. This year, he will welcome younger children to the Other’s Day festivities on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 10, at 2:30 p.m. at the Concourse Athletic Club in Sandy Springs.
Other’s Day will offer children ages 6 to 15 an afternoon of food, fun and friendship. It will feature magical entertainment from Howie Marmer, aka Howie the Great, who has donated his services to every Other’s Day celebration, and face painting by Phil Price, among other activities.
“The magician, he’s really funny,” Ty said.
Atlantan Leslie Greenberg organized the first Other’s Day when Mother’s Day fell on May 9, her birthday.
Her only child, Steven David Greenberg, was dead, and she was feeling bereft that he couldn’t celebrate either event with her. She was also remembering how she felt as a child when Father’s Day rolled around after her daddy died of a rare cancer when she was 9. She had long dreaded the day.
“I decided I wanted to turn it around for kids who are missing their dad,” said Greenberg, a schoolteacher-turned-event planner. “There are so many children in foster care or single-parent families. I know how that feels.”
Like her adoptive brother Ty, K.K. Kennedy was one of the children who went to the first Other’s Day. She was living with a foster family because her mother was sick. Her mother has since died, and she has become part of the Klein family.
The other kids at the event “didn’t have their mothers with them on Mother’s Day or any day. I knew what they were going through.”
This year she’s looking forward to being a counselor to the younger participants, she said. And she’s going to help with face painting.
The great thing about Other’s Day, Betty Klein said, “is that Leslie makes each child feel that the party is being given just for them. I’m thrilled that my kids appreciated it and want to give back.”
Sponsors for Other’s Day include the Dunwoody Crier, the Dunwoody Police Department, Sprouts Farmers Market, Hampton Inn, Publix, Kroger, Walgreens, Robeks, Willie’s Mexicana Grill, Nordstrom Lancome, Picayune Toys, Sandy Springs Fire & Rescue, McDonald’s, Whole Foods and Burger King.