by Beth H. Macy
Mother's Day is a perfect time to ask yourself how much you really know about your mother. It's a time to get to know the person that she is outside of her role as mother or wife. How much do you know of your mother's past? Do you know what interests her? Do you know what she did in life before she became a mother? What are your mother's skills, likes, dislikes, passions? Give her the gift of wanting to know her.
A good gift is thoughtful, such as a gift that shows understanding of the mother or wife outside of her role. Or a gift that gives back from you in return. Here are six categories and example of gifts to give your mother (or any important female in your life) for Mother's Day that show love for and understanding of that special woman in your life:
1. Listening. Do you remember how you felt when you last had someone really attend to your spoken word? Do you really listen to what your mother says or do you block it out as things heard before? Do you hear what she is saying with curiosity and ask for more or do you get defensive and shut her words out? Are you thinking of the next thing to say or allowing yourself to get swept away into her story? Conscious listening is a gift to the other person.
As you listen to her, ask questions. Show that you care enough to want to know who she was, who she has become and who she wants to be.
2. Something she has been asking for. Surprise her by painting the laundry room or cleaning the attic. Give the kids a ride to practice or pick them up after school. Spontaneously take out the garbage or wash the dishes. Watch that female flick on TV with her. Show that you have heard her by giving her something that is meaningful to her.
3. Recognition as a person (not just as a wife, mother, step-mother or significant other, or whatever her role is in your family). The gift of a vacuum cleaner symbolizes housecleaner whereas recognizing her as an artist by giving her a new tube of paint, or as an athlete, by giving her a new yoga mat shows that you see her as more than just her household title. Even something as simple and inexpensive as new laces for her favorite running shoes could go a long way!
4. Something that she would not have bought herself. The vacuum cleaner is an every day object that probably would have been purchased on another day. For Mother's Day why not pick up that silk scarf she has been touching at the store but not purchasing? Or that Nikon point and shoot she has been admiring? For those with more means, jewelry often falls into this category, so that diamond bracelet she has been admiring might just be appropriate. Or how about that lovely wristwatch she keeps trying on at the jewelry store? Look at what possessions of hers are well worn and tattered and may need upgrading. Show that you notice her by giving what she admires but doesn't buy or something that taps into an interest of hers.
5. A handwritten note. Handwriting taps into a different area of the brain than typing does, allowing you to more fully express yourself. And the unique style of handwriting brings back to the reader a piece of who the writer is. It is in a way, a gift of who you are. These notes are often cherished for years to come. Write that note on something handmade with the universal symbol of love by creating a heart shaped card, complete with white lace doilies on red construction paper! Give it to her with her favorite chocolate candies.
6. Something that transports her away from the daily grind. Show that you know what she likes by treating her to a special break in the daily routine. Breakfast in bed is something handmade, a symbol of caring, something she wouldn't have done herself, and is out of the ordinary. Cooking dinner or taking her out to dinner gives in this way too. Even better, why not take her on a magical mystery tour. Spirit her away for a long walk or a drive that ends with viewing a beautiful sunset. Hand her that rose and handmade card at the end! A break in the daily grind doesn't have to be a lavish trip to Hawaii. It can be as simple as gifting movie tickets for her girls night out.
These simple guidelines can help you say to that special female in your life on Mother's Day. They help you say: "I see who you are," "I know what you like," and "I love you enough to pay attention to details about you." They are not things bought while rushed or purchased heedlessly. Instead they are gifts from the heart. What woman wouldn't appreciate that level of effort and thoughtfulness? At the same time, gift yourself by getting to know who your mother is as a person this Mother's Day.
Beth H Macy, M.Ed. (psychology), LMHC, is the author of "Many Years Many Worlds." For more information, visit www.manyyearsmanyworlds.com.