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Can’t go wrong with a ‘Literary Mother’s Day’

Can’t go wrong with a ‘Literary Mother’s Day’

Don’t worry. We’re not going to explore the relationship of Mrs. Bennet with her daughters in “Pride and Prejudice” or the nature of Marmee March in “Little Women,” who prayed “the fervent prayers only mothers utter.”

No such thing. Here we’re going to look at homemade gifts for Mom from old and young alike, all of them centered around literature. These gifts are fun, easily made or put into action, and should appeal to a broad range of mothers, booklovers or not.   

First up on the agenda are gifts from the little ones. Most moms delight in drawings and fingerpaints from their preschoolers. You can make this Mother’s Day gift even more special by copying out an appropriate poem, then having your youngster color around it with crayons or markers. Search online for “ 58 Short Mother’s Day Poems to Make Mom Feel Special,” and you’ll find a garden of such verse. Here’s one to get you started, composed by that famous poet, Anonymous:  

I’ve made some Mother’s Day flowers,

With my fingers and my thumb,

So you’ll always have these memories,

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For all the years to come. 

 Or if you prefer, have your 3-year-old make a drawing, memorize a poem, and recite it to Mom while presenting her with the picture.

Now it’s time to climb up the ladder of years a few rungs. If you’re between the ages of 10 and 20, here’s a present that will cost you nothing except time and should impress the heck out of your mother or grandmother. Like those in the toddler crew, memorize a poem, longer and more sophisticated, of course, and recite it with a bit of feeling on Mother’s Day. Again, just explore online for verses about mothers, and you’re sure to find a poem you like. Here, for example, is Rudyard Kipling’s “Mother o’ Mine,” which I especially recommend to young people who have given their mothers fits over the years: 

If I were hanged on the highest hill,

Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine!

I know whose love would follow me still,

Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine!

If I were drowned in the deepest sea,

Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine!

I know whose tears would come down to me,

Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine!

If I were damned of body and soul,

I know whose prayers would make me whole,

Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine! 

One warning regarding this particular poem is in order: Recite it straight, gang, rather than campy or snarky. Otherwise, Mom might think that maybe you deserve that hanging.

Time next for some literary surprises. All you need are some sheets of paper and a pen, and if you wish, some markers to add color to your inscriptions. Tap a few keys on your laptop for “literary quotes about mothers,” and you’re in business. I liked Amanda Kennedy’s survey  of quotes at Glamumous, where we find thoughts like these: Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.: “Youth fades; love droops; the leaves of friendship fall; A mother’s secret hope outlives them all;” Jodi Picoult: “The best place to cry is on a mother’s arms;” and William Makepeace Thackeray’s “Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children.”

Write out your favorite quotes, fold them up, and put them wherever Mom is likely to find them: her jewelry box, her briefcase, beside the creamer in the refrigerator, on top of her pillow. This will give her a day of delights, and if she misses one or two, all the better. They’ll bring her a smile later when she finds them later.

This next one’s more difficult. Write an original poem to your mother or grandmother. If you have younger children in the home, help them compose a few lines about Mom. If you’re older, take a shot at composing a Mother’s Day verse or, if you prefer prose, simply write out a couple of paragraphs or more describing what she means to you.

And if you do have a book lover for a wife, mom, or grandmother and want more than these do-it-yourself gifts? Just head out to your local bookshop, where you should find books about moms, cards, coffee mugs, and other gifts. Or if you wish, purchase a store gift card, tuck it into an envelope with a note, and you’re all set.  

Do these things, add some carnations, chocolates, and a special meal, and you’ll surely have made this a good day.

Happy Mother’s Day to all! And for those for whom Mother’s Day means sorrow, tears, anger, or regret, you have my sympathies. In more ways than I would ever share here, I understand.

(Jeff Minick reviews books and has written four of his own: two novels, “Amanda Bell” and “Dust On Their Wings,” and two works of nonfiction, “Learning As I Go” and “Movies Make the Man.” This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..)

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