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Three generations of women sitting on the couchI was born on Mother’s Day. Over the course of our 63 years together, the second Sunday in May meant dual celebrations, including Mother’s Day 1989, a week after I became a mother (pictured here). The best celebrations, my mother would tell you, were the ones we spent together.

We hear a lot about being present, about living in the present moment, instead of the worry and planning of tomorrow, or the regrets and sorrows of yesterday. Being present also asks us to give generously of ourselves, to share our time and attention on both special occasions and for no reason.  

My mom and I lived four hours apart and she was always so appreciative when I called to say I was coming to Cincy for the weekend or longer. We shopped, went to the movies, ate out, cooked our favorite meal (steamed mussels and pasta) and visited mutual friends. We took a few road trips, to Roswell, Georgia to visit her dear friend, to Gethsemani; Kentucky to pay homage to Thomas Merton; to South Beach, Florida to see where her grandparents once lived.

A friend told me the other day that she always takes a trip with her adult children over Mother’s Day and how much she looks forward to their annual getaway.

When you’re a young mother and live with your children, it’s a given that you’ll spend at least part of Mother’s Day together. But older moms (and now I’m one of them) enjoy quality time with their adult children too, so consider giving a present of your presence this Mother’s Day or make a date for a future gathering.


Create a Keepsake for Your Mother

Most families have albums, boxes (and Smartphones) full of photographs. Stores like Michaels and Target sell frames in a variety of sizes and shapes, many with personal greetings.  These days, it’s easy and inexpensive to be creative.

Same goes with a photo book. “To find the best photo book, we've made 27 photo books in the last year and ordered from 13 companies. This has helped us decide which companies provide the easiest design experience, have the most amount of options and ultimately, who delivers the best printed photo book,” says digital photo editing writer Rebecca Spear. Mixbook was rated best overall and Shutterfly best value.

Maybe you want to say Happy Mother’s Day in words. While stores (and the Web) are full of greeting card choices – funny, poignant and everything in between – writing a personal letter, poem or memoir is one-of-a-kind special.

You don’t have to be a professional writer to compose a piece that expresses cherished experiences and emotions. That said, you can enlist the help of people trained in writing an ethical will or legacy letter.  

Explains Celebrations of Life: “An ethical will, or legacy letter, is a way to share your values, blessings, life’s lessons, hopes and dreams for the future, love, and forgiveness with your family, friends, and community. An ethical will is not a legal document; it does not distribute your material wealth. It is a heartfelt expression of what truly matters most in your life.”


Say it with Flowers

Whatever it was - Mother’s Day, birthday or other special occasion - my friend’s husband would always send her flowers. She was bored (and now divorced) and I was jealous (and still married).

So, by now you probably know if your mother would enjoy a bouquet of flowers, a hanging basket or plant for the garden. If so, say it with flowers.

One novel idea is to buy a bouquet of fresh flowers arranged in the shape of a cake. Another idea is to make a floral cake following this easy tutorial on YouTube, or buy Jonathan Fong’s book Flowers that Wow: Inspired Arrangements for the Floral-Impaired.

As with flowers, some moms may love, or could leave, chocolate. (My mom loved dark chocolate almonds). Dark chocolate with at least 70 percent cocoa is rich in fiber and has health benefits, but in moderation.  

Happy Mother’s Day!


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 Molly-KIn the past, Molly Kavanaugh frequently wrote about Kendal at Oberlin for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, where she was a reporter for 16 years. Now we are happy to have her writing for the Kendal at Oberlin Community.