Extra special Mother's day
May 2, 2009 7:44 PM   Subscribe

I have an amazing, incredible mother. Really, she's awesome. This will be the first mother's day that I have the fiscal resources to show her, rather than just tell her, how much I love her. I'll be getting her flowers, that much is sure. In addition to that, I'd like to do something meaningful. My (boring) idea was make a donation to a cause in her honor. But you have more creative, but still meaningful ideas, right? :)
posted by charmston to Grab Bag (26 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
What does she want or need? When I got my first job, my parents had a 5-year-old computer so I bought them a new one for Christmas. Has she expressed any interest in an iPod? How about a book? Think back over the past few months to things she's said she wants or would like to try.
posted by IndigoRain at 7:51 PM on May 2, 2009

Write her a letter telling her this, with anecdotes. Leave it with her to read after your visit. It will mean the world to her.
posted by ebarker at 8:00 PM on May 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: She's not the type to get wrapped up in material things. She'd be MUCH more moved by the aforementioned donation to a cause in her honor than by a new computer. She's the type who cries for hours at cute, cheesy shows like Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

My issue with making a donation to the Humane Society is that it's a bit commonplace. My mom is nothing but common.

Apologies for being a bit pedantic in my choices; my mom is just that special to me.
posted by charmston at 8:02 PM on May 2, 2009

I second anything that involves recalling anecdotes. My parents were totally floored when, for their 40th anniversary, my siblings and I framed a list of short phrases that referred to childhood memories (e.g., ice cream at Fenton's, The Cat in the Hat, the cornflakes incident, etc.) I was completely taken aback that they didn't expect us to remember things which to them, had simply been a matter of course. It was great to let them know that all the little things they did for us mattered so much and were so worthwhile.

Even a letter detailing one anecdote or memory would probably make your mom incredibly happy.
posted by corey flood at 8:12 PM on May 2, 2009 [4 favorites]

How about a spa pamper day? You know, the manicure/pedicure/massage thing. If you're near, you can arrange lunch with her before/after. If you're not near, then you could make it a gift certificate for two and let her take a good friend with her, which would seem exceptionally thoughtful, in my opinion.
posted by cyniczny at 8:19 PM on May 2, 2009

Seconding the letter to her, telling her how uncommon and wonderful and special she is, especially if you can work in how much her gifts have informed/made you what you are today. (The moms, they love that) If you're anywhere close to her, of course spend the day with her. I find that doing something around the house for her ( I weed her yard and garden on Mother's day) thrills my mom for the months to come.
If you're not able to be physically present, I also recommend getting not one flower arrangement, but a monthly delivery. FTD does a great job with monthly roses, in my experience, and showing her you love her one day a year is never enough. A beautiful, monthly reminder, combined with the letter (which she will treasure) is a great combined effort of showing and telling her your love continously.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 8:19 PM on May 2, 2009

Do you have an old photo of her with you as a child? You could have it scanned and restored (or do it yourself if you know how) and give her a nicely framed enlargement.

Anecdote: for my Mom's latest birthday, I took a photo of her at age 11 and restored it and framed it. Not only was she extremely touched, but it was great to hear her recount all the memories associated with the photo: the name of the photo studio, how the lights were arranged, what color her clothes were, and the bow in her hair (it was a black and white photo), where the studio was located, who took her to the studio, etc.
posted by The Deej at 8:37 PM on May 2, 2009

If she loves Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, how about a donation to Habitat for Humanity? If she loves her family above all else, donate to an organization that supports children who don't have families. If a member of your family or a close friend she loved died of a serious illness, I guarantee that there's a charity for it. In other words, figure out what's really important to her and do something meaningful to honor that. Don't worry about whether it's common; if you pick something meaningful to her and explain how you knew it would be, she'll love it because you picked it out especially for her.
posted by decathecting at 8:56 PM on May 2, 2009

I'm stuck on the donation idea since you mentioned it - how about sending her a gift of a Kiva.org donation? That's way more interesting and involved for the recipient than the standard charitable donation. She gets to choose who and where the donation goes, learn about the projects she funds, and even recycle the donation once it gets paid back to her!
posted by Joh at 9:09 PM on May 2, 2009

Seconding ebarker about the letter. If it was handwritten that would make it extra special and she'll keep that forever I'm sure, looking back at it now and then. Very touching. Or what about a poem? Maybe include photos of her or you or both to whichever you do. Taking her out to lunch/dinner ( just the two of you) to some nice quiet place and tell her how much she means to you ( and why) will make her day special too.

Donations are nice, but I wouldn't in this case. Make this personal between the two of you.
posted by Taurid at 9:21 PM on May 2, 2009

All great suggestions.

I'd add this- have you considered making her a photo montage on DVD? Compile some of your favorite pics from childhood of you and your sibs (if you have any) and set them to some of her favorite songs? It's a great way to archive the past in a way that is easy to share and will last forever.
posted by muxnaw at 9:34 PM on May 2, 2009

Fourth-ing the letter. I wrote one for my father, and he really choked up. My letter mentioned all the things he's done for me, and maybe not known that I noticed, and all the things that make him one of the best things in my life. After he read it, I could tell it was by far the best gift I've given him.
posted by Houstonian at 9:44 PM on May 2, 2009

It's not exactly a Mother's Day thing, but now that you have the means, be sure to send her flowers on your birthday too.

And definitely do the letter.
posted by dogmom at 10:00 PM on May 2, 2009

I wasn't actually suggesting you buy her a computer - I was just illustrating that you think of something she wants or needs.

There are also over 600 threads on AskMe tagged with gift.

You meant anything but common, right?
posted by IndigoRain at 10:02 PM on May 2, 2009

I have had awesome success with gifts of photo and memory books crafted by me and printed as a large format coffee table book either via Blurb or via Lulu (personally, I prefer Blurb).

I have included photos arranged in some sort of meaningful order + anecdotes and written stories that have meaning to the person getting the book +scanned copies of letters/notes/stories or drawings, plus any other written or scannable memory that I thought fit. Example of the book I made for one of my grandmother's here (PDF, 5MB. Self link, obviously)

It takes a while to do, and then it takes time to print and ship too, so it might not be doable by May 10. But maybe you could do flowers and then the book later. Or maybe next year.
posted by gemmy at 10:03 PM on May 2, 2009

One year I asked friends and family to write some memories they had of my mom. I then compiled them into a scrapbook with a few photos. The book could be as simple or as complicated as you want (seeing how Mother's Day is just around the corner, I'd go for simple). I contacted old friends that she had been out of touch with, current friends, family, church members, etc. And don't forget to do your own! Thankfully, with the internet, this would be doable in a short notice of time. I confiscated my mom's rolodex to get ahold of people. If you don't have access to her list of friends/family, see if you can get someone to help you - siblings, father, neighbor, friend.

It's a treasure, for sure and she'll see how awesome she is, not only through your eyes, but through the eyes of all those other people she's affected and influenced.
posted by Sassyfras at 10:44 PM on May 2, 2009

I can't seem to remember the name of the organization right now, but IIRC, you can actually donate money to purchase cattle, etc. for families. The gift that really does keep on giving, so to speak. I always thought that was more fascinating and a more efficient use of money.
posted by mittenedsex at 1:11 AM on May 3, 2009

Have you got many old photos that she really likes? Maybe make her a photo album?
posted by jhighmore at 4:08 AM on May 3, 2009

The donation to a cause for her may be a great gift. The best gift I ever got my mother was a dozen chicks for a family in Africa from Oxfam International. A year later and she's still got the card on the fridge and frequently wonders out loud 'how her chicks are doing.'

The first year I had money, like you, I wanted to give her something really nice. She had a little black and white TV in her craft room, so I got her a little color TV. It's still sitting in a box somewhere. *sigh* Parents are so hard sometimes.
posted by Caravantea at 4:34 AM on May 3, 2009

Another "will send critters in your name" organization - Heifer International.
posted by ersatzkat at 4:45 AM on May 3, 2009

Similar to Sassyfras- Maybe a scrapbook of pictures of the two of you together since you were a baby? You can include anectdotes and sweet little messages. It would also be something that she could look back at again and again.
posted by Leezie at 6:11 AM on May 3, 2009

If the Humane Society is up her alley, you might look into Best Friends. My boss donated to this organization in my name for Christmas one year. When you donate, they send you a nice magazine every month. I'm not really a big animal person, but the magazine is interesting and well-written, and I learned a lot from it.

I also like the idea of creating a coffee table book from pictures and anecdotes.
posted by jeoc at 7:52 AM on May 3, 2009

If you can afford a glider flight together that could be a bonding experience. For less and if you have any craft or other skills that allow you to create something i.e. with your hands, a poem. a DVD with you talking about what she has meant to you over the years, citing events and little memories. writing/playing a song, etc. She will appreciate and treasure anything you create or that is about you and her. Perhaps put together a video or .pps with you expressing your feelings to her. Whatever, be sure to show her this MetaFilter site and anything else you have done to please her because your efforts are a gift in themselves. Good luck.
posted by GhislainTwo at 2:01 PM on May 3, 2009

If you do decide to make a donation, you could give to the I Remember Mama Luncheon which is a Mother's Day event for elderly mothers who do not have family around to take them out on their special day. It's a local Boston-area event, but there might be something similar local to you.
posted by vespabelle at 8:11 PM on May 3, 2009

A gift certificate to Kiva.

That way, not only are you helping someone help themselves, but your mother has the pleasure of deciding who gets the micro-loan (and a lot of the requests are from women, which is nice and empowering), but she can also monitor the very real impact this has on their lives. Not only that, but the chances are that the money will be repaid (with interest!), and she can lend it back out again should she wish.

It's a win win win situation really.
posted by Mephisto at 9:00 PM on May 3, 2009

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