Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Gift that was Mother's Day

I'm a bit of a cynic when it comes to the recent onslaught of made up days for gift-giving.  Even when I've been on the receiving end, whether it was Secretary's Day, Sweetest Day, Teacher Appreciation Week, Dumb Blonde Month (Wednesday), I didn't like the contrived nature of forced gratitude.  I've always envisioned a dark-paneled, smoke-filled board room, filled with executives from Hallmark, FTD, Russell Stover, Honey-Baked Ham, DeBeers and WalMart, brainstorming about the next invented "special" day to foist on the unsuspecting but ever-willing shopping-obsessed public.  With Mother's and Father's Days a cultural standard, and Grandparent's Day the new guilt-inducing day to "oops" about, it can't be long before we begin celebrating Cousin's Day, Brothers-In-Law Day, Pool-Boy Day. (Note to self:  find a job designing those cards.)

In keeping with the "attitude of gratitude" that inspired this entry, I should refrain from any more sardonic wit concerning our card-and-gift-giving mentality.  Especially since I had an exceptionally lovely Mother's Day.

I love getting gifts, and even I try to think of suggestions for gift-giving occasions  like Mother's Day (mostly to steer my children away from the candy aisle).  My idea of a good gift is very broad, because I like almost anything, the older and tackier the better, and if I don't like it, I'll regift it.  The price of an item is not important, because (for me), a well-chosen cheap gift trumps an expensive ugly sweater  or bottle of perfume any day.

Plus I love used stuff, especially if it comes from an antique store, flea market, garage sale, or some other place where you get to look through other people's castoffs and see what they didn't need but you do.  My taste, so-called, is pretty simple.  Two categories covers it:  I like "stuff" and  I love "things."  If you wrap it in paper or shove it in a gift bag, chances are I'll be charmed.  ("Stuff and Things" is also the name of the new cologne created by noted unicorn artist and late-night talk-show host Greg Gutfeld, but keep that on the down low for now.)

In addition to the gifts, Mother's Day is always pleasant, because the girls make breakfast, people are always refilling my coffee unasked, I usually get to talk on the phone to my mother and sisters, and we ordinarily have my mother-in-law over for dinner, with Eric doing the cooking.  And it always falls on a Sunday...why can't the Calendar Czars arrange that for Dumb Blonde Month?

But seriously, this Mother's Day was special.  I received some very nice gifts, and that was part of what made it so nice.  But from the beautiful sunrise to the goodnight kisses, this Mother's Day gave me joy.

Some of my Mother's Day gifts:

A new flower bed for my scarlet peony, excavated by my wonderful husband after our lovely four-mile walk.  He always does some kind of outdoor project for me on Mother's Day weekend.

A new hummingbird feeder.  Words to live by:  "You can never have too many birdfeeders."

The dvd of   "The King's Speech ."  Colin plays a reluctant king who suffers a terrible stammer whenever he attempts to speak without using profanity.  See it if you haven't already - it's a sublime, intelligent film.

A breakfast of scrambled eggs with ham, a side of yogurt with sliced strawberries and a fresh sprig of garden sage, courtesy of Chef Mary Kathleen.

(I was too busy eating to think of taking a picture.  It looked much tastier than this dish.)

Kitchen shears to replace the kitchen shears which became garden shears:

Dinner at Bonefish Grill.  Bang-Bang Shrimp - need I say more?

Spring concert by the South Bend Youth Symphony, including a fabulous performance of "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," featuring a certain bassonist carrying the eerie melody of the enchanted brooms
fetching a bit too much water:

 A Baltimore oriole visited my for the first time that I'm aware of.  It was such a brilliant orange, it almost hurt my eyes: 

What a treat -- but alas, this is just a google image.  Stay tuned - I intend to lure him back with fruit and jelly.

We brought home a gorgeous buffet, which completed my antique furniture wish list for the foreseeable future:

These amazing daughters are irreplaceable gifts:

Camille and Mary Kathleen

I have a wonderful mother-in-law who exemplifies generosity and kindness:

Eve Arnett

And the woman who gave me life, reared me well and is still my biggest cheerleader and fairest critic -  my mother:

Carole Jones
Sometimes, the question of why I am so blessed when others suffer makes me crazy with wonder.

But this Mother's Day, I just enjoyed my many, many gifts and offered up a silent prayer of thanks for the people, the love and the great good fortune that fills my life.


  1. As always I enjoy your perspective. Miss and love you!

  2. Another wonderful provocative piece of excellent writing. Write on!

  3. You are so good...I love your blog updates even though they make me miss you more!!! Hugs