One of the great pleasures of this column appearing on a Sunday is that every once in a while the date coincides with something great, like Mother’s Day.
As with Christmas and mom’s birthday, we could always be counted on to go over the top with our show of affection. I am not sure if we were trying to make up for taking mom for granted during the year or just trying to outdo each other, but the sheer quantity was enough to strain credibility.
At Christmas, dad was ostensibly in control of the present flow. He knew that it was best to give mom her presents in double doses – this would save us having to sit around and wait for her to look surprised later on at her bounty. She never failed to register a look of mock amazement or unbridled joy.
On Mother’s Day or her birthday, her favorite gift was a flat of flowers or another rose bush. Since I was the only other person in the house that enjoyed flowers nearly as much as her, there would be some planting (and weeding) to go along with my present.
Our presents to my wife tend to the outdoor variety as well. She likes to look out the window and enjoy various plants in season. We know that we can finally start putting the plants in the ground and stop carting them in and out of the garage to avoid frost damage.
We have carved out so many square feet of yard space for Mother’s Day gardens that it has gotten to the point where we are working on plant density. We are now going up and not out, and might even have to build a new set of high rises soon.
Sure, there have been some disastrous presents over the years. The garden globe still goes down as the worst. I had it tied down and seemingly impervious to any wind until, well, the wind came.
The next morning the only thing left was my tied down base. The globe was shattered into a thousand small pieces – I am still finding the shards years later.
Other gifts led to still more work. The park bench led to a canopy to go over the top, lest we get pelted by squirrels and other flying objects raining down from the skies.
In spite of all of our efforts to outdo ourselves, the best gift is still a flat of pretty flowers planted by someone other than mom in just the right location. The azaleas will soon lose their luster, and the tulips will bend over and wilt, but a variety of flowers will remind mom that we aren’t just into flash and showiness.
One other thing, at least this has worked in the past, is ordering a bucket of chicken and eating with the windows open. I am not sure that there is anything special about that, but there is something to be said for a bit of warm weather and Mother’s Day. The fact that no one will have to wash dishes helps, too.
We won’t forget to reach out to the other mothers in our family. Mom, after all, was the one who made you who you are today (warts and all). For one day at least, we can be on our best behavior and pick up the dishes. They go in that machine under the counter in our house. Oh, and it doesn’t turn itself on, so we have been told.