Sunday, May 8 is Mother’s Day. What you do to honour your mother or what your kids do to honour you largely depends on where in life you are. Some mothers will get a macaroni necklace, a spindly green plant in a Styrofoam cup, and a wobbly handwritten, crayon-illustrated card. Most of us still have the yarn-wrapped jar ring hot dish pad lovingly done in elementary art class. Mom will beam, tear up, and hug her little kid. This is the first inkling she has that this little person can put someone else first.
Later, mothers may get a store-bought gift. How flashy or useful it is may depend on whether dad slipped a few bucks toward the cause or whether the purchase was strictly piggy bank financed. All of us have had to look beyond the useless or the kitschy to understand that indeed it is the thought that counts. (Bulletin: we’re less forgiving if dad did the shopping. When will some men learn? There was a time that every piece of jewellery Roy bought me had a leaf or flower motif. Enough already!)
As the child (and child’s budget) grows and matures, the quality of the gifts improves. But what we really love is being remembered. we’re touched when husbands and kids have been paying attention, when they put two and two together. They see that some of us would rather get a book than a kitchen appliance. They understand that a meal, any meal we haven’t had to prepare, is a gift. Concert tickets, a pedicure, and things we hesitate to buy ourselves are always appreciated.
After years of buying gifts, they realize that a gift card or certificate is always a good choice. Not that we’re hard to please or anything, you understand . . . but these gifts offer possibilities. They can pay for the next haircut, the next bestseller, the next whatever. The outing to buy that item is a gift in itself. Cynics may say that it is the only thing to give to someone who has everything.
So this year, whether It’s a bouquet or a book, a meal or a manicure, a gift card or a macaroni necklace, each of us needs to remember that it is the process. It’s the remembering, the sentiments handwritten or pre-printed in the card, and the act of thinking, choosing, and buying. But more importantly, It’s the other 364 days a year. It’s acknowledging that these women are the matriarchs of the family and the glue that holds it all together.
Just ask someone like me, someone who has a mother and is a mother. And a grandmother. The thread that connects my mom, me, and my daughter-in-law is the love and effort we each put into our most important job. Did we each make mistakes? You betcha. Was the motivation ever less than loving? No way.
Celebrating this first and most important relationship is the real reason for the day, from where I sit.