words by: Ferree Hardy
It comes around every may: Mother’s Day. Not everyone does something for it, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I, myself, have mixed feelings about it. Shouldn’t every day be “Mother’s Day?” And “Father’s Day?” After all, one of the Ten Commandments is “Honor thy father and thy mother.” (Ex. 20:12). But since the day is significant for many people, I’ve learned to add a little extra honor and respect to the mothers in my life by sending a card, taking time for a visit, or giving a gift. If your mother is still with you, Mother’s Day is a happy, extra opportunity to tell her that you love her.
For some, though, Mother’s Day is kind of like when we were children, lined up and waiting for our name to be called to join a team on the playground. It’s a very insecure feeling. Will the team captain even see us? Will he or she call out our name? Will the other kids cheer and make us feel like valuable members of the team? Or will we have to walk over to the bench and sit all alone?
Some mothers don’t know if their busy children will remember them. Other moms have empty arms where a son or daughter used to be. A widow, too, might be reminded more of her loss; it’s complicated, and the turmoil isn’t easy to describe, explain, or resolve. On the other hand, if our own mother has passed away, we might acutely feel her absence while the rest of the world spins on.
Whether you wish you still had a mom you could talk to, or you are a mom who’s waiting, hoping to be blessed, everyone can use a little mothering. Even the smallest attention can bring the brightest encouragement and make an unforgettable difference.
The following ideas can be adapted for anyone in your life—not only widows, not only mothers, not only women. Plenty of widowers, shut-ins, and newcomers to your community would love to be surprised with one of these remembrances. They don’t need to cost a lot either. Homegrown or handmade is often superior to store-bought. A genuine smile and greeting the person by name are priceless.
Gift ideas for widows with children at home:
Family Fun Basket: Individual-sized bags of chips, pretzels, or popcorn for each family member, small toys, a card game, or a jigsaw puzzle, soft drinks, and something special just for mom, if you know what she likes. Otherwise, a houseplant or cut lilacs are usually appreciated by all.
Fresh as a Daisy Basket: Handmade or fragrant soaps with scrubbies or new washcloths, potted flowers for mom, toiletries like new toothbrushes and toothpaste; sample-size lotions, lip balms, sunscreen; scented candles.
Suppertime Basket: Why not a family dinner package they can use anytime? For example: Pasta Night—a package of spaghetti, a jar of sauce, bagged salad and dressing, garlic bread, and cookies for dessert. Add a red and white checkered plastic tablecloth to make it extra festive. Vary this with a taco or BBQ theme and decor. Or invite the family over for dinner at your place.
A family breakfast basket for the weekend. Mix and match any of the following: individual boxes of cereal, a dozen eggs, bacon or sausage, frozen waffles, toaster treats, individual orange juices, bananas, instant oatmeal packets.
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Ferree Hardy has helped thousands of widows through her book, “Postcards from the Widows’ Path,” small groups, speaking, and personal coaching, but touching one life at a time is what matters most to her. She holds a BA from Moody Bible Institute, and was a pastor’s wife in Ohio for over twenty years before her first husband died. She’s happily remarried now, and her readers know that moving seems to have become a hobby for her. But she also enjoys backyard chickens, aims to read fifty books a year, and loves to bake. Learn more by visiting her blog.