Time and appreciation — that’s how we show mothers that we cherish them. Suffice it to say, there is no need to stress over the perfect gift for Mother’s Day, when time and appreciation are what counts the most. In fact, Anna Jarvis, who campaigned for the creation of Mother’s Day in 1908, dedicated her final years trying to remove the designated day from the calendar. She disliked the commercialization that had developed over the holiday, which continues to this day:
Mother’s Day occupies the No. 1 spot for dining out, consistently beating the other major holidays, according to the National Restaurant Association; No.2 for fresh flower bouquet or plant purchases, surpassed solely by Christmas, says the U.S. Flower Industry; and No. 3 for greeting cards, with 133 million purchased annually — only Christmas and Valentine’s Day rank higher, according to the Greeting Card Association.
Although Jarvis’ latter efforts to combat commercialization failed, we can still honor the spirit of the holiday that first motivated Jarvis: Recognize the mothers in our lives by setting aside a day just for them. When we honor moms from our hearts, we give them more than a calendar day in the year — we give them a memory for years to come. Here are six ways to honor Mom:
- Just a Phone Call Away. According to an international study by Reuters, Mother’s Day holds the No. 1 spot for the highest phone call traffic across the globe. There’s nothing quite like hearing a loved one’s voice and letting them know that you’re thinking of them, especially when you happen to be working on a holiday — which public safety professionals are often required to do throughout the year. The simple act of a phone call can bring a smile to a mom’s face; knowing that she’s remembered and cherished is what makes the day special.
- On the Job with Mom. We’ve heard of “take your child to work” days, but what about the reverse? Why not take Mom for a ride in the cruiser or for a tour of the fire station, followed up by a tasty bowl of firehouse chili? Give her the opportunity to swell with pride over the selfless service that you provide to the public on a daily basis. Then thank Mom for her years of selfless service to the family, letting her know that she’s the example of sacrifice that you carry with you on the job.
- At-Home Bistro. Treating your mom to her favorite restaurant gives her a break, but sometimes that can be expensive and prone to long waits. Perhaps more than a crowded restaurant, Mom would enjoy dining on the patio for a bistro fare. Family members can cook the dishes Mom likes best, while Dad — donned in a black bowtie, cummerbund, stiffly starched white shirt and black slacks — waits on her. You can even print out mini menus and name cards for each place setting.
- Flower Power. Floral arrangements delivered to the door are an attentive way to show Mom you care; however, sometimes our budget does not allow such a generous gesture. If you live close by, Mom might prefer for you to be the one who delivers the bouquet, and it doesn’t have to be a professional arrangement from a florist. Some of the most picturesque and prized bouquets are nosegays of freshly plucked flowers from the garden.
- A Child’s Contribution. The authenticity of a child’s handmade card or poster far outshines any item in the greeting card aisle. The word “mother” can be used as an acronym, with the child listing why they love Mom next to each letter. Scrawled writing, misspelled words and scribbling outside the lines make the artwork even more precious and memorable, for these characteristics embody the innocence and sincerity of a childlike heart. Besides, store bought cards are rarely plastered on the refrigerator or hung on the wall; it’s the handcrafted sentiments that are proudly displayed as masterpieces.
- An Adventure of Firsts. While this point is not referenced in the above statistics, it is an idea worthy of consideration: Why not do something together that’s a first for one — or both — of you? Perhaps Mom has never played putt-putt golf, tried ice-skating or gone horseback riding. Or maybe she’s never attended a play at the local theater. Regardless of the recreational or entertainment choice, it’s the time together that moms value the most.
Often, the most treasured gifts of all do not come in extravagantly wrapped packages but in unassuming acts of thoughtfulness. Acts that say, “Mom, I appreciate all the sacrifices you’ve made for me over the years, like the times you stayed up with me when I was sick, even when you didn’t feel well yourself. Your sacrifices are what guide me on the job when I’m called to sacrifice for the good of another. For all of this, and so much more, Mom, I thank you.”