DEAR SUN SPOTS: My mom and I can’t be together on Mother’s Day this year for the first time ever. I want to do something special for her, but I know she’ll scold me if I spend a lot and she doesn’t like a lot of material things anyway. She’s a minimalist. I always like your advice and what other readers write. I know there’s not much time left before the big day, but I’m hoping you all can give me some ideas. She’s 55 and I’m out of state on a  job site. — Jon, Ocean City, Maryland.

ANSWER: So many of us can’t spend Mother’s Day with our moms this year for one reason or another. Sometimes it is challenging to think of a gift or a way of making our moms feel special, especially for moms who already have quite the collection of material goods. Flowers and candy are always nice, but I have to say that a favorite gift my daughter sent to me when she was away at college was a pretty gift box containing several sealed envelopes. Each envelope held a handwritten note. Each note had a paragraph or two with a sweet memory we had shared. The last note was a list of why she loved me. She is in her mid-40s and I have always kept these notes in their original box on my bedroom bureau. I read them often.

Because I’ve made a living as a writer it’s easy for me to say, but never underestimate the power of a simple, heart-felt letter. Just speak your mind and don’t concern yourself with making it perfect. Your mom will treasure it.

Photos, drawings and little mementos saved from special events are all things your mom will also treasure if you want to add them to your letter or just make a collage.

A screen-printed T-shirt with a special photo or saying is also a fun gift. For instance, I have a tendency to say, “I’m fine”, whenever anyone asks how I am so my son gave me a T-shirt that has written on it: “It’s fine. I’m fine. Everything’s fine.” It makes us all laugh.

Because you can’t physically be with your mom right now, perhaps you can plan a special outing for when you are together again and write out the plan in a greeting card. A fancy dinner in a nice restaurant, cooking for her, a weekend road trip, or a rain check to do a household project are all wonderful to look forward to for next time the two of you are together.

Another idea is to make her a music mix of songs. I’ve received several of these over the years (even back in the day of cassette tapes!) and really enjoy them. Music has a way of bringing people together and a mix of your favorites along with some you know your mom likes can lead to some awesome conversations.

Lastly, reach out with a phone call or video chat!

Readers, please share your ideas for Mother’s Day and other occasions when you do special things for your mom, which, when you think about it, should be every day!

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name. We won’t use it if you ask us not to. Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be emailed to [email protected].


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: