Flowers are nice. Jewelry is generally appreciated. Going out to dinner is a popular favorite. But when it comes to giving Mom a gift she’ll remember long after the flowers are wilted, the jewelry is carefully stored and the meal is something of the past, many sons and daughters might consider a loving gift instead. Aren’t all the gifts we give Mom loving gifts? We only need look to our hearts for that answer. If we feel an obligation to come up with just the “right” gift or to top what our siblings did last year, maybe we’re being selfish. We’re not really thinking about what would make Mom happy. Here are five suggestions for loving gifts we can give Mom this Mother’s Day. Note that they don’t cost us anything other than our good intentions and following through on the effort. And the reward of seeing our mother’s genuine appreciation will make us realize that love is always the best gift.
Shower Her With Affection
The gift that keeps on giving is real affection, not the showy kind or air-kiss superficial demonstrations of love. Think how we can best show Mom that we love her with all our heart, that we appreciate all she did for us growing up, that we value her advice and constant encouragement during our times of need. The truth is that Moms never really tire of hearing how much we love them, even if they protest and say they know it, that we don’t have to keep telling them. We do. And they secretly feel a little more loved because of it. Showing affection for Mom may help alleviate depression, which affects more than 2 million of the 34 million Americans age 65 or older. All the more reason to give Mom a big hug and a kiss this Mother’s Day. Sometimes it’s the smallest gestures that mean the most.
Spend One-on-One Time With Mom
Does your Mother’s Day celebration sometimes come with a carload of hungry, cranky, distracted kids, too little time allocated to be with Mom, too many other items on the to-do list that we’re really not “there” with our mother for the day? This Mother’s Day, there’s a different gift we can give. Plan to spend some one-on-one time with Mom. This isn’t as impossible as it sounds. If it’s a dinner at your home or hers, during meal prep or clean-up, have a mother-daughter or mother-son talk that allows Mom to speak her thoughts. You may need to encourage her to open up, asking gentle questions, giving some subtle hints to steer the conversation to things she has on her mind. While you are with her, pay special attention to her overall mood, her attentiveness, physical abilities and general health. Do you notice that she’s forgetful, distracted, unable to follow your conversation? Does she seem fidgety, anxious, spaced out or otherwise not quite normal? These may be signs that something’s amiss, perhaps requiring a doctor’s visit or monitoring of prescription medications. Nearly three in 10 people between the ages of 57 and 85 take at least five prescriptions. Medication abuse and misuse can have a variety of side effects, including drug-induced delirium and dementia. As many as 17 percent of over-65 adults are believed to have an alcohol abuse problem. In the end, the half-hour or hour you spend one-on-one with Mom this Mother’s Day can open up a new chapter in your relationship. It certainly will be time well-spent.
Put Together a Collage of Photos
Another idea for a loving gift is a photo collage culled from times past when you and Mom spent some memorable moments together. It could be a compendium of family vacations, when you both were cleaning fish Dad and your brothers caught in the lake, the skiing vacation when several family members had mishaps and Mom came to the rescue with hot chicken soup and affectionate hugs. If Mom is one of the 7.9 million older women who live alone, having the opportunity to reminisce over such memorable times may help lift her mood, bring joy to her life, and show her that you genuinely care. Going over the scrapbook of memories with Mom can bring a few tears to the eyes, but it is just as likely to bring smiles and laughter. Best of all, Mom has something tangible to look over long after Mother’s Day is past.
Can’t Get There? Do Something Creative
Mom may be far away and you can’t get there to celebrate her special day this year. You can still be there in spirit, or on video or in a greeting card with a specially prepared audio message. If Mom is connected to the Internet and uses social media, this may be one way to get in touch. You can also set up a Skype call or video chat. Record a DVD of your personal message and have it delivered with a lovely bouquet of flowers.
Moms Are to Be Cherished
Along with Mother’s Day, May is also Mental Health Month. Keep this in mind as you strive to create meaningful ways to interact with Mom. Being social and staying connected plays a huge part in overall mental health. You can do your part with love this Mother’s Day and begin a practice that you can revisit again and again over the rest of the year. Remember, you only have one mother. Cherish her and make sure she knows it. When you share love with Mom, you’re giving her the best gift possible.