What mom really wants for Mother's Day, and tales of 'getting it right'

Published: Wednesday, May 8 2013 3:45 p.m. MDT

Andreani's not sure she ever gave the perfect gift, but she knows she once received it. She's closer to her mom now than she was growing up, helped by a gift she received a few years ago. Her mom gave her a digital scrapbook with all of her pictures from birth through high school graduation. The real gift was the narrative: Her mom wrote what she was feeling at each point in her daughter's life, her fears, her proud moments, all of it. She wrote a love letter to go with it.

Author Cynthia Ellingsen dedicated her latest novel, "Marriage Matters," to her mom, Cheryl Phipps, for a Mother's Day gift. It's fitting, she said, because her mom was "always, always reading something when I was growing up. She was definitely the inspiration for me to become a writer."

It sure beats the year she gave her mom a toad she found in the garden. "That gift did not go over as I planned," said Ellingsen, who lives in Lexington, Ky. Her mom lives in Battle Creek, Mich.

Blogger Robert Nickell (aka Daddy Nickell), father of seven, said you can't go wrong with certain gifts. He recommends breakfast in bed, planting a garden with mom, having a family spa day, creating a blessing book or making a family video.

Not quite as planned

For some, there are bound to be misfires, but that's OK. A CreditDonkey survey saw a disconnect between what children plan to give and what mom said she wants. She craves something homemade or dinner or greeting cards. Those didn't top the survey list of things children plan to give.

The good news is, Mom will probably say she loves whatever she gets. While the Western Union survey said 42 percent of kids find it hard to shop for Mom, a like number of moms admitted they pretend to like what they get sometimes. The survey noted that the sons and daughter of all ages "have good intentions when it come to finding the perfect gift."

Mothers know that.

When Genma Stringer Holmes was growing up in rural Mississippi, her mom, JJ Stringer, woke her up every morning playing the piano softly at 5 a.m. That was their alarm clock. "After I grew up and left my rural community behind, her music was always in my head," said Holmes, of Hermitage, Tenn. Later she realized it was the theme to "The Young and the Restless" — and that her mom liked soap operas. Other likes were easier to recognize, like her mom's love of reading and her affection for plants.

One year, she gave her mom a plant that turned out to be "sick" and its "illness spread to her other babies — oh my! She reminds me every year how much that one plant cost her. Cash is now queen of gifts for my mother."

Holmes' own Mother's Day wish list is short. She wishes her three grown children would chip in for a cleaning service — she'd happily settle for once a month.

Suzanne Hitt is quirky. The Dallas woman plays the accordion, piano and trumpet, is an expert fly fisher and mountain climber, runs 5Ks, creates balloon animals, loves to take pictures, drives a super-fast Corvette and at age 64, she has taken up urban rebounding on a mini-trampoline.

Daughter Hilary Kennedy remembers the Mother's Day she gave her mom a specific perfume. Hitt had a bad reaction and sick headaches for a week. It turned out she wanted Adobe Photoshop or camera gear.

EMAIL: lois@desnews.com, Twitter: Loisco

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