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As Mother’s Day nears, annual search for the perfect gift shifts into high gear

By June Mathews

Even though I’m well aware Mother’s Day rolls around every second Sunday of May, it sneaks up on me every year. Of course the same thing happens with Christmas, Easter and all the other holidays, so in that regard, there’s nothing different about Mother’s Day.

But here I am, with only a few days to go, pondering what in the world I’m going to do for Mama this Sunday. When will we celebrate? Should we cook a meal ourselves or eat out? What kind of gift do you buy for somebody who has no pressing needs and to whom material possessions hold little value?

A gift card is always appropriate but unimaginative at best. I guess I could pick up a pot of the lovely hydrangeas I saw at a local garden center yesterday, but that kind of falls into the same category. And Mama, as I’ve previously noted, isn’t known for her green thumb. The poor plant would be dead within a week anyway.

Like me, Mama enjoys clothes and shoes and costume jewelry. But also like me, she usually prefers choosing such items to suit (and fit) herself. So that only brings me full circle back to the gift card idea again.

So what’s a daughter to do?

Giving the perfect Mother’s Day gift used to be so easy. All I had to do was show up at Sunday school, and the teachers would dole out to my classmates and me the resources for creating plaster handprints, Styrofoam ball pincushions or frames made of Popsicle sticks to hold goofy little photos of our grammar school selves snapped weeks earlier with an Instamatic camera.

But as much as I enjoy crafts now, I really didn’t enjoy them a whole lot back then, mainly because I was even more inept as a child than I am as an adult. The fruits of my labor rarely resembled the teacher-made prototypes, and I usually made a mess of myself, as well as my immediate surroundings. And no matter how hard the teachers tried to protect my Sunday clothes with castoff men’s shirts, I always managed to wear home some of whatever substance we happened to be working with that day. Fortunately, it was usually washable.

But whether I enjoyed it or not, I gamely gave each project my best shot. And when Mama met me after class, I’d proudly present her with my bit of handcrafted artistry and accept her accolades for a job well done. Only a mother could love her child’s ill-assembled mass of craft supplies, often damp with overgenerous amounts of tempera paint or encrusted with glue, and mine apparently did. Either that or she put on an awfully good show. Even at that age, though, I knew better than to think I was actually the creative genius Mama made me out to be.

But those clumsily crafted gifts served their purpose, and they served it well. They provided appropriate Mother’s Day gifts with no deep thought, cash outlay or shopping required on my part.

Hey, come to think of it, maybe returning to those times is the answer to my current quandary. I’ll just make something for Mother’s Day. There’s a craft store coupon around here somewhere, and if I hurry, I should be able to pick up a deal on supplies before the local Sunday school teachers beat me to the punch.

Now for the big question: Do you think Mama would rather have a plaster handprint, a Styrofoam ball pincushion or a Popsicle stick picture frame?

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