One of us is still lucky to have a Mom alive—98 ½--those half years are very important at this stage. The other one lost her mom 2 ½ years ago at age 92. And we both are Moms. One of us also got very lucky and is now a grandmother of two cuties and has a daughter who’s the lucky Mom.
Barbara's two daughters and her mother, Estelle, who will be 99 in October.
So, we know lots about this subject. And we’d like to advise skipping the gifts if you have a Mom and telling your kids to do the same. Yes, flowers are delightful and fragrant, candy is dandy but rots the teeth and increases the chance for Type 2 diabetes, and who needs another scarf, book, or scented candle? None of us, if we may be so judgmental. You really don’t!
But what we all need is time as it is truly fleeting. This means time with our loved ones in person if doable. It’s best whether sitting and chatting, taking a stroll—even a slow one, sharing a meal, or reading together if you have a mom whose eyesight is fading.
Second best is time on the phone without being rushed, interrupted or in a car where the connection is poor, and conversation constantly breaks up.
Third place goes to time for reading a lovely card—one of those pricey Papyrus kinds with a sticker for the back. Find one that’s sentimental and gushy or funny and hand write a personal note. Or if Mom knows how to email, take the time to write a lovely note rather than simply type a fast 140-character Tweet, s’il vous plait.
Here’s yet another idea that rates high--a lovely Facebook post about what a great Mom you have—we are covetous of those we read online that say something to the effect of, “To the best Mom ever, you did this and that, that and this…we love you forever.”
All in all, the idea here is to share what you love about your Mom and even joke in a kind way about what you find annoying. Example: I appreciate your suggestions, but please don’t comment on the fact that I need my eyebrows plucked. Believe me, I’m aware of that.
Whatever tact you take this Mother’s Day, do this now since before you know it you may not be able to, if we may get a tad maudlin.
How to show appreciation can come in many ways. Barbara loves that her mother instilled in her and her daughters a yen for cooking and especially baking, gave her good sound values to treasure the best but not crave anything materialistic.
“There are no pockets in shrouds,” she always says, which has led Barbara to scoff when her mother offered a gift of a certain name-brand, expensive watch that Barbara had explained she loved. Nice Mom offered to buy it for her “if it would make you happy.” “Are you kidding, Mom?” Barbara replied, adding, “You taught me that such things don’t really matter. But thanks anyway.” And she admires that her mother remains thrifty—as a Depression-era child raised in the very practical Heartland, Barbara’s Mom still takes home a sugar packet or two from a restaurant when she dines out, a few plastic vegetable or fruit bags from a grocery store when she shops, and she always takes her inexpensive ride service when she can’t manage with her walker rather than a more pricey cab. Besides a card and visit, Barbara also usually makes a donation in her Mom’s honor to the food bank in her small village, which her mom loves.
Mother’s Day is tough for Margaret who is mother to three adult children, none of whom lives near her. As stated earlier, her mother is deceased. Margaret bemoans the fact that she didn’t know her mother as well as she thought she did. Her mother was a very private person who carried around secrets about her past that she never shared. And when there are no answers in Margaret’s head, she is sad that the deadly silence won't provide them.
Margaret's late mother, Beatrice, who died at age 92.
One thing Margaret does know, however, is that she’s learned the importance of having an open, honest relationship with her three children in an effort not to repeat the mistakes of the past. Today, her kids are at the center of her Mother’s Day—they rise to the occasion with lovely cards and messages, even gifts. But the most important gift they can give her is to spend precious time together when their jobs permit any day of the year. It doesn’t have to relegated to one special Sunday in early May.
We know being a Mom is one of the hardest jobs to do well—we usually must play it by ear—and as we’ve learned, it requires being on call every day, 24 hours a day. Even when kids are grown and have flown the nest, we still are the ones worrying the most, cheering them on the loudest even from afar, high-fiving when they do well and keeping our concerns about what they sometimes do or don’t to ourselves. That’s the hardest lesson—the wisdom of keeping our opinions about their lives to ourselves—unless they ask for guidance. It’s now their time to take their risks, make their mistakes and earn their success all on their own.
So, in honor of Moms everywhere, here’s to you—cheers and l’chaim. You’re priceless—worth far more than that a bouquet of flowers, bottle of perfume, bar of expensive imported soap, new nightgown, or some technical gadget that is programmed to say in a chirpy voice: Happy Mother’s Day. But we really mean it.