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’ll just give Mom a call on Mother’s Day. She already has everything anyway.”

No, she doesn’t.

She doesn’t have your recognition of her as a person with hopes and feelings, hobbies and habits, expectations and desires the same as any other woman. Age is no barrier to emotions, and emotions run high on Mother’s Day. She is recalling the sacrifices she made on your behalf, and so should you. Unless you haven’t been in touch with her for five years and she’s concerned about your whereabouts, a phone call just doesn’t cut it.

Sit down and think about her objectively, not just as “good old forgiving Mom.”

And certainly not as an extension of the kitchen. Pots and pans and culinary gadgets are OUT. Out, I say, unless she’s a gourmet chef who delights in such additions to her collection. Most Moms are not. They have had enough scraping and peeling and preparing and cooking, most of it on your behalf. Give her a break.

Does she have a hobby? What is it? Does she paint, quilt, collect salt and pepper shakers, take photographs, garden? Anything you give her that adds to her pleasure in these pursuits is more than a gift. It’s a recognition that she has a mind capable of conquering more than motherhood.

What does she wear? Is she casual, dressy, distinct? Does she like earrings, pins, necklaces? Gold or silver? Small or big? What colour do you think she looks best in? Buy accordingly and tell her so. Most moms can do with a boost to their self-esteem. Whether she is age 44 or 84, she will be flattered to receive something to wear.

Taking her out to dinner is a nice idea, but not very original. Besides, once it’s over, she has nothing to show for it except an extra ounce or two.

Be more creative. Moms like to brag about their kids, or haven’t you noticed? And they take special delight in showing off what their children have given them. Why else does she still treasure the chipped cup and saucer you gave her when you were five? It was tangible. It was touching. It was sacrificial – you bought it with your very own allowance. That cup and saucer has been displayed for decades, front and centre in her china cabinet, right up there on par with her Royal Albert dinnerware. Every time she sees it, she remembers the thoughtful child you were.

Don’t let her think any differently this year.

– Alma Barkman writes from Winnipeg

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