I am so blessed to still have my mom. She is 81 and still going strong and a day doesn't go by that I don't think about her. Though I don't visit as much as I should or would like to, I know she is just a call away and still always there for me. Mothers are special; dads are too, but it's usually mom that gets the call when things aren't going well. If you need someone to back you up when you feel someone has treated you badly, or if you just need someone to let you know that you are doing a good job and that they love you very much, mom is there. My mom doesn't say I love you very much, usually in a card, but I know she does by all the wonderful things she has done for me over the years and still does for me. She is my best friend and my "mom" when she needs to be. She will tell me when I'm wrong, defend me when I'm right, and stay quiet and listen when I need her to. Mother's Day is May 12 and I wanted to suggest some ideas of what you can do for the "mom" in your life. And for those moms with little ones, it's what "dad" can do for the mother of their children. It doesn't have to be an expensive gift or anything extravagant (but moms would appreciate that too. it just has to be from the heart...).
Child's Handprint get a piece of sturdy plain white paper. Take your child's hand and dip it in child-safe paint. Then put the hand print on the paper and add this poem: "Some day I will be big and gone upon my way, but here's my little hand print to remind you of this day XOXO." Let it dry, wrap it up and let your little one present it to her. You can also do this with a plate and have it say "A Garden of Love Grows In a Mother's Heart" then add the child/children's name/names and year.
Photo Collage use everyday pictures of her and her family and put them in a collage. This can be one that your purchase with separate places for each photo, or you can get a big frame and just place them in it for a more "fun" look.
Dinner for Two plan an outing for just you and your wife. Spend the day with the children, and then have a sitter lined up to take her to her favorite restaurant. When there are little ones to care for, husbands and wives seldom have private time for each other. You still need to have your "date" time for just the two of you.
Recordable Storybook have your child/children assist you in reading her favorite storybook as a child and recording it. She will love to hear their voices on there, even if they miss a word or two.
Fresh Flowers find a place with some lovely wild flowers and have the children help you pick them. Put them in a vase and make a "special" card for her and place them beside her bed before she wakes up, it will bring a smile to her face for sure.....
Mother's Necklace These are "special" jewelry pieces. They have the children's birthstones on a little boy or girl, or you could do one with all the stones together and then an inscription on the back. Mom's treasure these pieces of jewelry and they can be found reasonably priced at places such as Walmart.
Gift Basket Find a nice basket and put all her favorite things in it. Have the children help you pick out her favorite cookies, lotions, fruit, body wash, cheese, candy, books, magazines, a new toothbrush, soaps, candles, etc. She will be able to enjoy this for many days after the big day!
Picture of the family Have someone take a picture of dad and the kids and find a frame to place it in; the ones that have the words on them such as Family, Love, Memories, etc. are really nice and would find a special place on her desk or night table.
Coupon Book make a "special" coupon book out of colored pieces of paper. Have the children help think of coupons (dads may need to help little ones with some of the coupons), like a "hug"; clean the house; read a book together; watch a movie together; take her to her favorite ice cream store; cook her favorite meal; a long, relaxing bath; rub her feet, washing dishes or loading and unloading the dishwasher; picking up my room, sleeping in, etc. If you look online and google "coupons for Mother's Day" they also have some great printable ones that are colorful with the activity already on them.
And of course you can do the more extravagant gifts such as a "spa" day, a girl's shopping trip, a gift card to her favorite clothing store (moms seldom spend much on themselves), a manicure and/or pedicure, etc. Just remember whatever you do or give your mom or wife on Mother's Day, spend the day with her and make her feel special. That is the best gift of all!
Sue Junge is an Early Childhood Support Specialist for the Iowa River Valley Early Childhood Area and is a Thursday columnist for the Times-Republican. The views expressed in this column are personal views of the writer and don't necessarily reflect the views of the T-R. For more information, please visit www.iowarivervalleyeca.com.