Though it has been slandered as a creation of greeting card companies, Mother’s Day should be celebrated with a fuss and vigor that pays worthy tribute to both maternity’s central role in the continuation of life and — more importantly — the irreplaceable, ever-warm, remembered-for-a-lifetime role that individual mothers play in the lives of their own dear doted-upon children.
You know who you are, kids — you’re every damn one of us — and now the task is to devise a sufficient and appropriate and, for those strivers out there still seeking to outdo siblings, creative way to honor and please Mom. Come the appointed day — that would be this Sunday, May 8, for you laggards — here are few strategies for successful Mom-honoring.
One idea is a day’s activity that she can enjoy with her brood, or whoever among them are still around — a picnic in the park, a hike in the woods.
This has the advantage of seeming kind of creatively offbeat, with the corresponding disadvantage of seeming kind of creatively cheap.
There’s the home-improvement Mother’s Day. Do all — OK, some, or, well, maybe one — of those things around Mom’s house that she’s wanted done for years now and that nobody, least of all one of her eternally grateful children, has gotten around to doing.
The upside of this is it’s useful and likely to be genuinely appreciated (in contrast to last year’s ridiculous gift). There are some downsides, though.
For those with mothers who secretly — or not so secretly — are keepers of a mental maternal scorebook, this is a Mother’s Day option that suffers from the virtue of thriftiness. Problem No. 2: It’s work. It may feel a lot like cleaning your room.
Of course, ours is a sophisticated society and many are afflicted with an ambivalence that, however politically incorrect, may surface on the day honoring the decades of selfless sacrifice undertaken just for you by your own dear mother.
For those dutiful but subtly vengeful offspring who wish not to pamper Mother but to do her good is the dreaded character-building Mother’s Day option. (Hey, she did it to you when you were a kid? Get her back.)
Why not take her to a fascinating lecture? Or drag her to a museum celebrating some obscure field of human endeavor (old-fashioned farm tools, animal taxidermy, avant-garde anything).
For truly hideously vengeful children — those still suffering miserably from years upon years of unflattering comparisons with more accomplished siblings, for instance — there is what might be thought of as the Mother’s Day nuclear option: the health-and-fitness combo.
Try taking Mom on a really long hike up Hay Fever Mountain, then crown it with a health food snack of the sort she used to put in your lunchbox when all the lucky kids got cupcakes and candy.
But we have descended into cynical jokes — not the sort of thing Mother would have appreciated at the dinner table.
Genuinely loving and grateful children — c’mon, that’s most of us — who are secure enough to be comfortable doing the trite may want to consider treating the day’s maternal star to the Mother’s Day trifecta: a good meal, a nice gift, and a donation to a meaningful charity. On the meal, a labor of love is always nice, but a good restaurant — local, of course — may be better. (This is especially true if, in all honesty, your cooking stinks.)
As for a donation, many charities are worthy, and it is the sign of a good son or daughter to know which one will be close to Mother’s heart.
And whatever else, don’t forget the magic words: Love you, Mom!