This story contains slight embellishement, not much but I need to protect myself from angry emails from siblings.
Finding the perfect Mother’s day gift for my Mom used to be easy. When I was a kid my dad did all the purchasing of the mothers day gifts. Either on the Saturday night before Mother’s Day or on the morning of, he would gather the 9 kids in a room, dump the contents of bag, which had either Sears, Two Guys, or Jefferson Ward printed on it, onto the floor. Falling onto the floor were 9 gifts for my mom. They ranged anywhere from bathrobes to toiletries to cooking utensils and other types of small gifts and always a bottle of Jean Nate.
My dad would walk out of the room and leave my sister Sharon in charge of divvying up the gifts so that each kid had something to give to my mom for Mother’s Day. Sometimes we would fight over who got to give mom what.
“I want to give Mom the hairbrush. I gave her the change purse at Christmas.” Kevin would say.
“John and Bill should give her the small stuff because they are in the middle and we should give her the big stuff first and last.” Sharon would direct.
Dennis would chime in. “Well I want to giver her the socks because they are yellow. And Yellow is the hue of that portion of the visible spectrum lying between orange and green, evoked in the human observer by radiant energy with wavelengths of approximately 570 to 590 nanometers; any of a group of colors of a hue resembling that of ripe lemons and varying in lightness and saturation; one of the subtractive primaries; one of the psychological primary hues….”
Someone would eventually cut Dennis off because he was too longwinded. After much discussion and debate Sharon would tell each of us what we were going to give mom and hand us the item. We would line up, usually youngest to oldest, and proceed to the living room, where my Mom was sitting still in her robe from last year, sipping tea. One by one we would approach her and hand her unwrapped gifts.
She would always act like each gift was the perfect thing.
“Oh Jimmy. What’s this? A new sweatshirt? And it is green which is my favorite color. Thanks. Michael, wow you got me new Sunglasses. I love them. Thank you Patrick for the wonderful manicure set. Oh Billy. A new Spatula. How wonderful. I really need this. Thank you so much……. Umm. What’s your name? John. Right. Sorry honey it is still early. Thank you for this quart of motor oil. That is lovely and it is Pennzoil. Oh Daniel. Jean Nate. I love it. I think I just used up the last of the bottle I got for Christmas. Why does this bottle have some missing. Did you drink some of it?”
And this would go on until all of the gifts were sitting in front of her either on the coffee table or on the floor. As the kids went about getting ready for church we each one by one, would ask my mom what gift she liked best. Her answer was always the same.
“ I love them all for different reasons. I can’t pick out a favorite.”
I know it was always whatever Jimmy, the youngest, gave her.
Happy Mother’s Day Mom. I love you.