Commentary: Get creative and celebrate all moms on Mother’s Day

By Patricia C. Thompson

Let’s face it: This is going to be one of the most unusual Mother’s Days ever.

Some creativity may be in order due to challenges caused by the COVID-19 virus.

That said, this is a “tribute card” to everyone who is a mother or has ever functioned as one – including stepmothers, nurturers, caregivers, grandparents, and even some fathers!

This also honors the memory of those mother figures who are no longer present.

Kudos and gratitude to all.

Creative gifts for moms

If you’re seeking some creative solutions or updates on traditional Mom’s Day doings, here are some inspirations – all of which can be modified to suit you and your family.

Pat Thompson

Several take into account that this may be the ideal year to create unique or more time-intensive Mom’s Day gifts.

• Tribute: List positive times with Mom and turn these into a letter. Topic ideas: Valuable lessons your mom taught you, ways she showed support or sacrificed for you and family. Consider also the light times – the fun laughter, traditions, trips, and special events. Perhaps begin by reading the tribute to her during a Facetime or phone call. Then make a formal copy in your handwriting or as a printed document. Best of all, frame it using a craft store or repainted, existing frame – even if this means giving her an IOU for the near future.

• Calls and Facetimes: Contact Mom, sing “Happy Mother’s Day to You” using the “Happy Birthday” tune. Plan a specific sentiment, card or list of “thank you” items to say aloud and/or show mom, e.g., share the “Top Ten Best Things You Did for Me, Mom.” And save time to listen to her.

• Zoom: Schedule a Zoom Mom’s Day celebration time with the whole family or just your branch. The Zoom app for meetings lasting up to 40 minutes is free and can work on many smartphones as well as other devices from iPads to laptops. In case of tech issues, have a back-up phone for calling, and consider a practice test with all parties before the real Zoom time.

Plants and flowers: Many greenhouses and hardware stores are open and have hanging baskets and potted plants that can last for months. Also, traditional cut flowers may be welcome, and dish gardens can feature removable blooms placed among lasting green plants. (I still have a flourishing philodendron with cascading green leaves from last Mom’s Day.  Even grocery and home improvement stores often have plants and flowers).

Photo collection: Finally make that family digital or actual photo album – even if it means sending an IOU with a promised later date. BTW: Father’s Day is Sun., June 21, so make the IOU for a mid-point like June 1 and honor all – even if as a memorial. Digital services like Legacy Box convert photos and audio items to newer media methods or cloud access.

• Music mix: Send a mix of Mom’s favorite songs via her choice of media.

• One-a-day “vitamin words”: Write a one-sentence loving message or a memory on slips of paper or index cards. Mom can read one each day like a fortune cookie, e.g., “Mom, love your lasagna.” Send via box or envelope.

• Phone-you gift: Give a gift certificate with a promise to phone Mom at set intervals, e.g., at least once each week (starting with your Mom’s Day call) on a set day with a time range. Consider having a theme to calls such as a pithy quotation that each person alternately brings Search for great quotes online by authors, scientists, poets, etc. Or just bring a happy memory so the chat can always have a positive anchor.

• Enhanced card: In the case of purchased cards, why not add a caring message about Mom that will make it personal?

• Crafted card – pronto: Create a homemade card using paper, writing tools, family photos, photos created on your home printer, etc. Write some personal words of uplift. For help, search the net for some Mom’s Day quotes, messages or poems to inspire you. Snap an image of the card and send via text or email in order to be timely.

• Keepsake: Also, later mail your handcrafted card to her as a keepsake. Add the date and perhaps that it’s a “COVID-19 season” card. BTW: Ask any mom which greeting cards and special holiday gifts she has kept for decades. Odds are she cherishes the homemade ones from her kids and loved ones. I sure do.

• Store helps:  Grocery stores have prepared meals, rotisserie chicken, deli items, etc.   Alert:  Do well ahead and prepare to observe possible maximum capacity limits in grocery and other stores.

• Masks: Make face covers with a Mother’s Day theme. Wear them to honor Mom or make her smile – even if on a Facetime call or in a texted or emailed photo.

• Birdhouse: Give a birdhouse and get it installed on a metal shepherd’s hook or in a tree near an often-viewed window. Reward: Hours of birding joys. Give a bird book to help identify types.

• Coupons: Offer coupons to do caring tasks for Mom at the first feasible date — indoors or outdoors. Consider lifting and cleaning tasks, lawn help, yard decluttering, washing of porch, lawn gear, and deck.

• Time, attention: Just have coffee together and listen with empathy to Mom for 15 or 20 minutes – no push-backs at all. Just listen with compassion. “I get that is how you feel” may be useful words, even if you do not agree 100%. Ask the mom (be it your wife, your mom, or any mom figure) what she wants as to time, help, or a small gift, and follow through. She may cherish some hours or a day without her usual duties and responsibilities. Time and empathy may be among the best gifts of all.

Patricia C. Thompson is a wife, mother of two and a grandmom residing in Dover. She has been a lifelong educator in Kent County public schools and colleges.