There’s some debate in my household on whether or not Mother’s Day is a “real” holiday….or just one thought up by Hallmark to make people scurry to the store to buy cards, chocolate, and random inspirational plaques or chocolate. You can probably imagine who is on which side of this argument! (Hint: I like chocolate.) Either way, gifts and cards are things that have become part of the Mother’s Day tradition.
We all know that there are some husbands and kids who work their tails off every year to show their wives and mothers how much they appreciate and love them. We also know that there are some hubbies and kiddos that fall into the “not-super-creative-thoughtful-but-still-love-ya” categories. There seem to be so many different ways to celebrate moms:
–precious little trinkets that a child thought of themselves
–elegant gifts given by (or through) thoughtful husbands
–homemade treasures created by little (or not so little) hands
–sweet memory gifts instigated by teachers or thoughtful friends
–totally random last minute “dang I forgot it was Mother’s Day” treasures
I have personally been the recipient in most of these categories, and have alternately happy-cried, giggled, and cried again through my 15 years of Mother’s Days. I have also shed some tears and sighs of envy hearing about the experiences of my friends through the years. As the day draws nearer (ATTENTION HUSBANDS, FATHERS AND CHILDREN–IT’S SUPER NEAR NOW!) I thought it might be interesting to ask around and see what Mother’s Day gifts have been most memorable. Honestly, I was sort of expecrting a lot of people to say things like, “Diamond jewelry” (small sigh of envy here) or “Lawn chair with beer holder from a gas station becasue everything else was closed” (which is certainly not sitting in my garage right now!); but the overwhelming theme in the answers wasn’t that at all. Seems like what moms appreciate most are the sweet heartfelt things our kids make or pick out by themselves to tell us what they feel about our relationship. Sound too sentimental? Well….we are moms, after all. I’d love to share a few stories with you….
–A couple of moms really did share that a gift of jewelry was their most memorable! One daddy put a beautiful tennis bracelet on their baby daughter and had her present it to her mom. My cousin Hillary’s boys picked out special beads for a charm bracelet. Another little girl picked out “very special earrings” because her mom Marcee sells jewelry and she thought that would be super special! They sure are! My oh my!
—Several mothers mentioned the sweet notes and letters that the kids make in school. You know the ones….where the teacher encourages them to answer questions about their moms that can be precious or a bit too revealing? (What is your mom’s favorite food? Everything What does your mom do in her spare time? Sleep and drink wine)
Luckily this mom didn’t have scary little secrets to reveal!!!
–A couple of ladies shared memories of beautiful things that their own fathers and father-in-laws had done for them to recognize the fact that they were moms now. One friend’s dad made her flower boxes for her windows that she and her daughters could fill together. Another’s father-in-law gave her a bird bath with a baby boy and a bunny in the water-just like the one he’d given his wife when their child was born. How beautiful!
–And how can anything compete with bead and yarn necklaces? As my friend Jill reminded me with her story, nothing says “love” like 4 thousand beads threaded onto a piece of yarn. Each piece of jewlery is as unique as the little one who made it.
–Quite a few moms talked about things their kids had made them in school. My cousin, Lyter, has a little hand print from her daughter saying, “This is the hand you used to hold, when I was just four years old.” My friend Laura’s son made her this sweet little dish towel to remember his hands too. Handprints are a popular theme…it is really amazing to look at your grown kid and try to remember when his hands were so teeny!
–Some gifts were just…well…something else. My friend Lisa received a gas-powered weed eater (which she claims she asked for?!?!?), and another friend, Kat, was pretty excited about her new grill. Yet another friend gave her own mom a leaf blower (which was apparently requested as well????). My friend Michele maybe did or didn’t shed a few tears over a plastic hummingbird feeder. Apparently outdoor tools and yard accessories and such are a very real trend these days. Hmmmm.
–One awesomely anonymous pal has an awesomely honest husband who forgot to get her anything the year they had a newborn because, as he said, “You’re not MY mom!” Another cousin of mine received a beautiful expensive statue with the promise that
–My friend Cheryl, who is waiting for her newest daughter to come home from Haiti,received this beautiful necklace. It has a stone for each of her kiddos, including the one spending Mother’s Day so far from her mama’s arms.
–Several moms said their best gift involved a few hours (or even a night or two!) away where they could recuperate and rest. Several other moms mentioned that idea as their someday dream come true!
–Lots of us love the sweet handwritten notes with drawings and pictures telling us that we are the best mom EVER. Pam’s daughter even included a few pieces of coveted leftover Easter candy! Fran’s daughter loves her VEEARY much!
–There were quite a few mentions of breakfast in bed as well. Yes, there were brick-like muffins adorned with flowers from the garden, eggs with plenty of shell added for crunch, and orange juice dumped beautifully onto the pillow. The moms who received these gourmet treats spoke most about the excitement in their kiddo’s eye when they presented the meal…and how precious that was.
–One of my favorite stories is from my friend Amanda. Her son kept asking her for an old frame, but it was always in those most inconvenient moments (while taking a shower or out at a sporting event) so it was continually forgotten. Finally, on Mother’s Day he gave her a picture someone had snapped of the two of them, and he had made his own frame out of notebook paper. Talk about a memory making moment! That kid’s heart….so so sweet.
–I have another friend, Jennifer, who made this awesome picture for her mother one year. This was in the “pre-pinterest” age so it’s even more impressive!!
–The year I was pregnant with my first child I gave my own mom a framed collage. It contained a picture of her and one of myself around the same age, and I had written something about becoming a mom myself. She still has it hanging on the wall!
While i can’t dispute the awesomeness of a gift involving a spa weekend or a necklace with my kids’ birthstones (hint hint), I think most moms agree that it really is the thought behind these things that counts the most. We pour our very selves out into these little creatures we call children…and we do it because we want to. We don’t ask for thank you’s or look for applause as we trade in our personal desires for their happiness or our old hopes for new dreams about our children’s lives. We do it because being a mom changes us. It changes our very essence from a “my life” focus to a bigger world perspective. When those eyes shine with expectation, when those faces glow with shy anticipation, when those little hearts are so visible on those little sleeves….that the knowledge of how much they want to show us their love burns so brightly that even the shiniest gift is hard to see. This is the point where in our mama eyes, the joy of the giver far outweighs anything they could possibly give. The fact that they love us enough to pause and make sure we know it…even if it’s for a Hallmark holiday…. is really an awesome humbling present.
So this week I will appreciate my kids’ appreciation. I will try to find a way to make my own mom smile and cry (happy tears) at the same time, and I will certainly wear my amazing new necklace with pride. Hey–it matches everything!!
To everyone who put up with my questions and shared their answers….thank you! I included as many as I could!
(We’d love to hear about the most memorable Mother’s Day gift you’ve ever received or given! Let us know in the comment section!)