If you are stumped on something special you can do, here are some ideas for ways you can express gratitude for all that your mother has done for you.
1. Connect by Asking QuestionsHow much do you truly know about your mother? Find out what happens when you ask specific and seemingly simple questions.
At my mom’s 70th birthday dinner, I asked, “What was your most memorable birthday?” She shared a hilarious childhood story about her friend’s hair catching on fire from the candles in the cupcakes at her third birthday party. I had never heard the story, and it was wonderful to see her face light up as she shared it.
2. Try Out the StoryCorp AppThis free smartphone app allows you to plan out and record a meaningful conversation with your mom. The conversation can be uploaded to the archives of the Library of Congress so that future generations can hear your mom’s stories.
The app helps you craft a meaningful conversation by giving tips on creating interview questions.
3. Write Your Top 10 Memories with Your MomTake some time to think of memorable moments with your mom. Can you narrow them down to your top 10? You can type them up and print them out for your mom. For an added touch, handwrite your list and include some illustrations.
4. Create a Photo Collage or AlbumUse technology for good and create a timeline of memories with your mom. Use your smartphone to take pictures of your old photos and upload them to a website like Shutterfly or Snapfish. Those websites make it easy to create photo albums or collages, and your mom will enjoy seeing some of your best moments together.
5. Give Hugs and KissesOne of my favorite things to do is snuggle with my 11-year-old daughter. I can’t imagine a day when we don’t show affection for each other. I’ve realized that my mom and I don’t hug nearly enough.
Hugs don’t just feel good. They have been shown to improve health. One study out of the University of North Carolina showed that women who hug their romantic partners present lower blood pressure and high levels of oxytocin, the feel-good hormone.
6. Take a Literal Trip Down Memory LaneIf it’s geographically possible, consider taking your mom on a little road trip to important places in her life. You could visit her childhood homes, grammar schools, high schools, and universities. You could stop by her favorite places to eat or her top spots for socializing.
This idea was inspired by one of my dear friends who surprised her parents for their 50th anniversary by taking them around Philadelphia. They visited the location of their first date, their various homes, the church in which they were married, and other special places.
7. Write a PoemLet your creative spirit loose by writing an ode to your mother. You can write about what you admire about her, your favorite memories together, how she makes you feel, etc. Take a notebook and a pen to a quiet place and see what comes up.
8. Make Her Favorite MealInvite your mom to be your honored guest at a meal that you prepare. Make her favorite appetizer, main dish, and dessert, and see if the food you share together brings up any memories. You can add a special touch by placing a vase of her favorite flowers on the table.
9. Create a CardSome of the most meaningful and treasured gifts I’ve ever received are hand-made cards. It may take more time than grabbing a card at the store, but it will be worth the time and effort. Break out some crayons and let your inner child pour out this creative gesture.
10. Plan an AdventureIs there a place your mom has always wanted to visit? What if you surprised her with a trip? Whether it’s to a campsite at a nearby national park or a big trip to visit the land of her ancestors, you and your mom can create unforgettable moments together. She will appreciate you taking the lead and planning the details while she can simply enjoy the journey.
11. Ask, “How Can I Help?”Our western culture celebrates those who are busy, and it’s easy to fall into the trap of constantly going. When you’re busy, you might not be as inclined to seek out ways to help. Is there something you can do that would be truly helpful for your mom? What if you simply asked, “Mom, what can I do to help you?”
These ideas are a great starting place if you want to shake things up and show gratitude toward your mom a different way this year.