Been There, Done That by Laura Nethken

Published:

Mother's Day is quickly approaching and many folks are racking their brains trying to figure out what to get for Mom on her special day. For the most part, moms are pretty easy to shop for -- get her a card, buy her some flowers or candy or take her out to dinner.

Some moms settle for a simple phone call. I hope I never end up as one of those moms who only hear from their kids once a year on Mother's Day. Of course, for some moms, I suppose that could be a bonus.

In my teens and early 20s, my usual Mother's Day gift to my mom was an I.O.U. It may sound tacky, but it wasn't. It was a promise to do something for or with my mom, like help her plant her rose bushes or clean out the closet in the spare room or go out for lunch, just the two of us.

One year, I entered a contest with a local newspaper (guess which one) with my story about why I thought my mom was the greatest. And I won! We got complimentary tickets for two for dinner and a show at the Carousel Dinner Theater when it was still in Ravenna. That ought to give you a clue as to how long ago that was.

We paid for a third ticket so my husband, Dave, could go, too, and we saw the musical "Cats." That was the one and only time I ever saw any kind of live theater production. It's not something I'm in a big hurry to do again, but it was fun and besides, it was on their dime.

In my late 20s and 30s, Mom and Grandma decided they only wanted one thing for Mother's Day -- a handwritten letter telling them how much they meant to me. I'd cry writing them, they'd cry reading them, which they did over and over until they got the next one.

At least they didn't cost anything. With our blended families, Mother's Day was kind of like Christmas in July. At its highest point, I was buying six Mother's Day cards -- one for my mom, grandma and stepmom, and one for each of my mothers-in-law, Dave's mom and two stepmoms.

I also had to buy a birthday card for my dad and an anniversary card for Dave. We got married on my dad's birthday, thinking it might help smooth things over. He wasn't always Dave's biggest fan like he is now.

Dads are the ones who should be getting a letter or entered into a contest when it comes to coming up with something for them for Father's Day.

My dad is awful to buy for. He's going to be 82 next month. What could he possibly need (that I could afford to get for him) that he hasn't already gotten at some point up until now?

He doesn't bowl anymore, doesn't wear ties and doesn't go fishing. He could wear a different Steelers hat or shirt every day from now 'til the cows come home and never have to wash clothes or wear the same one twice.

And as my siblings and I learned at a very young age, we can't all get him a bottle of Old Spice, at least not every year.

Copyright 2014 Laura Nethken

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