Let's face it: There's really no one else in the entire world as dedicated as a mother. She gets up at the crack of dawn to see the kids off to school when they're little, then stays up to the crack of dawn waiting for them to come home when they're teens. I'm exhausted just thinking about it. Wouldn't you say that moms deserve a day off? I've heard cynics say that Mother's Day was created by the greeting card industry, just to make a profit. As a card-carrying member of those ranks, I feel it is my duty to come to our defense: Mother's Day was conceived by a real person, Anna Jarvis of Philadelphia, to honor her own mom. It was made into a national holiday round about 1911 or 1914, depending on which source you consult.
Speaking as someone who always drew homemade cards for my mother when I was a girl, I understand Anna's sentiment. To give Mom her due, sometimes you have to take matters into your own hands. This Mother's Day, try to be a little more creative than usual. Rather than taking Mom out to brunch and making her stand on line in a crowded restaurant while you wait for your table, why not wait on her hand and foot? Here's how I envision it, a veritable Mother's Day Marathon: 9-10:30 a.m. - Breakfast in bed with all the trimmings. Choice of pancakes or waffles with strawberries or bananas. Newspaper and plenty of gossip magazines on tray.11 a.m. - Special gift presentation from the whole family. Be inventive: Pledge to do various chores around the house, the more odious the better, such as straightening out and sorting contents of closet, garage and basement. Of course, silk scarves, favorite collectibles and expensive perfumes are also lovely gift ideas.
12-1:30 p.m. - Lunch. Set a beautiful table with petal-edge plates and pedestal cake stands piled with petit fours and bouquets. Since Mother is feeling queenly, why not serve tea sandwiches and cookies? 3:30 p.m. - Afternoon relaxation in the garden or on the porch. A tape of favorite music playing softly in the background is a nice idea. Station someone near Mother to attend to her every whim.
5 p.m. - Second round of gifts (optional).
6-9 p.m. - Home-cooked, sit-down meal. Oh, all right - take her out to dinner instead if you insist.
Evening - A thoughtful gesture would be to offer a tray of scented bath salts, bubble baths, exotic soaps, loofahs and other indulgences for a long, luxurious soak.
Bedtime - Turn down her bed, just as they do at fine hotels. Brew a cup of chamomile tea and offer her tiny, good-quality European chocolates for sweet dreams.
To be perfectly honest, a random survey of mothers reveals that they would be thrilled with just a few extra minutes of peace, quiet and sleep - the best present of all!
Plan on two types of finger sandwiches - crusts trimmed, cut into triangles - spread with special flavored butters. Just mix together 1 cup of unsalted softened butter with the ingredients of choice in an electric mixer.
Here are some delightful possibilities: pecan-studded cream cheese with chive butter; almond chicken with basil butter; cheese or smoked turkey with a herbed butter of parsley, tarragon, thyme and white pepper.
Or make a dainty flower butter to spread on scones or rolls. Blend edible organically grown flower petals - such as roses, violets, nasturtiums and borage - with butter in a mixer. Then cover a flat surface with plastic wrap, place the butter on the wrap and roll into a small log shape using the plastic wrap. Press whole petals around the outside of the log, wrap tightly and chill until ready to use.