A Long-Distance Mother’s Day

By Paris Lawson | Digital Content Reporter | okcthunder.com
Being separated by thousands of miles is not the ideal Mother’s Day Abdel Nader or Danilo Gallinari had in mind. On a day that is usually filled with warm hugs and kisses for mom, both Nader and Gallinari will have to settle for virtual celebrations as both of their mothers are stuck overseas in their respective home countries.

Nader’s parents typically travel back and forth between Oklahoma City, Chicago (where Abdel grew up) and their hometown of Alexandria, Egypt. However, due to the impact of the coronavirus, Egypt has put restrictions on international travel, leaving them unable to return to the United States to see their children after visiting family in Alexandria.

During his childhood, it was adverse situations like these where Nader grew to appreciate the mental toughness and work ethic of his mother, Amina. His family moved from Alexandria to Chicago when he was 10 to escape the governmental and economic turmoil befalling Egypt in the late ‘90s. When he thinks back, Nader recalls the mental toughness exuded by his mother to come to a new country, work three shifts six days a week all while caring for her two young children.

“One of the things I did take from my mom growing up was that she was like the hardest worker I’ve ever met,” Nader said. “That’s definitely something I learned from her. She had such a toughness about her coming to a new country not knowing anybody, but taking care of me and my sister.”

She also had a competitive side. In everything Nader pursued from schoolwork to basketball or a class spelling bee, his mother wanted him to be the best at it and not settle for anything less. Some children might shy away from such high expectations, but Nader thrived in it and let that same toughness and competitiveness drive him to a career in the NBA.

“There’s just so many things that I’m grateful for my mom for that I definitely wouldn’t be here without her,” she said.


Across the Mediterranean, Marilisa Gallinari is by herself in northern Italy while her husband and children are all in the United States. As one of the regions hardest hit by the coronavirus, social distancing measures have been in place for quite some time and have put strict limits on what anyone is able to do.

She is unable to be outside of her house for long periods of time and therefore can’t go visit nearby family like her parents.

“As far as members of my family, my mom is the only one that is by herself and so that makes it tougher,” Gallinari said.

It has been nearly five months since he has seen his mother in person and with the current state of the pandemic, he isn’t sure if he will be able to make his annual trip to Italy with his brother. For now, Gallinari has to settle for daily phone and video calls to his mom, a routine he never skips, even if there isn’t much to talk about.

“I talk to her every day. Some days the conversations are longer, some days they are shorter but we talk every day,” he said.

While physical interactions continue to be on hold, Mother’s Day for Gallinari and his mom will look similar to the days before it ­­­­– a simple video call.

“I’m sure we’re going to celebrate on FaceTime. Unfortunately, we’re not going to be with each other, so I’m not going to hug her or kiss her like I usually do,” he said.


While things may look a little different this Mother’s Day for the Thunder duo, the love and appreciation they have for their moms won’t get muffled by the distance between them. In fact, the situation calls for an even greater appreciation for the precious time they are fortunate enough to spend with their mothers, even if it’s through a screen.

“It does make you think about the things you’re actually fortunate for,” Nader said.

For Gallinari, it’s important to show that appreciation on a daily basis. While he’s thousands of miles away from his mom, he has learned that there’s no shame in showing your love for your mom even outside of the dedicated holiday.

“Make sure that everybody doesn’t forget and doesn’t feel weird saying, ‘I love you, mom’ every day,” he said.


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