I was talking with my mother earlier this month about Mother’s Day. Historically, I get her something that I’ve heard her mention that she wants or something I think she would like. For the past several years, it’s getting harder and harder. There’s nothing the woman needs or wants. She knows it, I know it. And the last thing I want to do is give her something to “keep” that just becomes another obligation to display and maintain. It’s not fair to her.
Recently, she’s started decluttering. I’m ALWAYS working on the clutter issue for myself, but she’s spent most of her life collecting. She’s now swimming in 60+ years of collections, and she’s tired of juggling it all. I’m thrilled. I’ve been preaching simplicity for years, but she’s been highly resistant. A few years back, she admitted that she liked the idea, but didn’t even know where to begin. She needed help. I’ve tried to help as I can, and as she will allow. She’s finally embracing the rightsizing concept!
This year, there seems to be a breakthrough! I told her that I couldn’t think of a thing she wanted or needed for Mother’s Day and I actually needed her help. She said that from here on out — for all occasions — I was not to bring her things, but was to TAKE things. It was a horrible, awkward moment. (You see, I don’t want her stuff.)
I declined as gracefully as I could, and offered to come help her sort and make a trip to the local Goodwill. Instead of taking in tangibles, I went and spent the day with her. Now, maybe I did go to the best European bakery in the area and buy an amazing fruit tart (a tiny one) and hand carried it to her — but old habits die hard — but nothing more. I plan to limit any future gifts to consumables — small, immediate, amazing consumables. She loved it! And, she loved the afternoon together. So did I.
Instead of carrying in gifts for your own mother or grandmother, why not help her instead? Spend time. Help her clean or organize. If you can’t be there yourself, give her a gift certificate for weekly maid service or hire her a professional organizer.
If you want to offer a more traditional gift, why not take her for a manicure or to a hairstylist? If she can’t get out or you can’t get home, find one that makes house calls.
Buy her a handyman service for an afternoon — be sure you have a few things on the list for him to handle, just in case she doesn’t have one already created. Eliminate some of those things that need tending that she can’t do herself.
Sometimes, the best gift is even more simple…
Why not schedule and an appointment to place a phone call to her? My mother calls her own mother between 9 and 9:30 every evening. Sometimes they talk for five minutes, sometimes for an hour. But my grandmother looks forward to that call EVERY day and has told me how special it is.
My grandmother doesn’t get many visitors, and having that regular, dependable contact makes her days more measurable — preventing days from running together — and gives her something to look forward to. Even if you can’t do the phone call every day yourself, you can look into a service that will do daily check-in calls and you can follow up with a personal call from you once a week.
Whatever you decide to do to make your mother or grandmother feel special this month… make sure it continues throughout the year and that you take extra steps to help improve the quality of her life, not the quantity of her possessions.
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