I have a confession to make – I did not give my mother anything for Mother’s day! My only excuse is that I did step in for my children and give my wife a beautiful potted chrysanthemum, but I feel just a little guilty. Yet the more I thought about it the more I realised that a bunch of flowers, breakfast in bed or a card with sickly sweet words is not really what most mothers want anyway. What do they want? As a mere male I sometimes find that hard to work out, but here is a list of ten gifts which we can give all year round!
1. The gift of thankfulness, expressed in words and actions, rather than hoping they know we are grateful for all they have done for us.
2. The gift of friendship, recognising that there is a time to move beyond the adult/child relationship and become friends.
3. The gift of time, being prepared to listen, and pay attention to all those other little jobs that they may increasingly need help with.
4. The gift of honour, treating them with courtesy and respect, even when the ravages of age may diminish their ability to do things as well as they used to.
5. The gift of encouragement, looking for opportunities to go the extra mile to care for not just their physical needs but their mental and emotional needs as well.
6. The gift of forgiveness, recognising that we all make mistakes, and none of us are perfect parents, and choosing to forget and not mention those events again.
7. The gift of openness and honesty, being prepared to share what is really going on in your life and not just give the sugar coated version.
8. The gift of laughter, retelling old stories, and finding fun things to do that will include them in family activities, even when it might initially seem inconvenient.
9. The gift of vision, including them in your dreams for the future, showing them how their legacy will live on.
10. The gift of commitment, proving that you will stick by them through thick and thin, not just on one day but the whole year, even if you are geographically separated from them.
So, if you missed mother’s day here are ten things that you can still give, every day of the year. Come to think of it, all those gifts you can also give to your partner, so don’t just sit there, start planning now which of these gifts you need to give today!
Chaplain Ian S Whitley