One of my favorite past Mothers Day’s gifts was a handmade coupon book that was stapled on the side and in not-so-perfect lettering; a series of free coupons I could use for all occasions. There were coupons for cleaning the bedrooms, feeding the animals, taking out the garbage, getting good grades, hanging up clothes, being nice to siblings and even a hug when Mom needed it.
I never had to be embarrassed to ask for a hug or kiss because it was a gift that I deserved; a constant reminder pinned to my bulletin board that would catch my attention after having a bad day. The children had started the whole thing and I picked up on it; hook, line and sinker. I was not interfering in their play because if they balked for a hug, I would wave the coupon book in their faces. It was documented. They had a contract. They asked me to interfere. It was a gift that kept on giving until the next year, if I planned the activities in a timely manner. Maybe I would get a replacement book for Christmas.
As we age beyond those childhood days, where are the coupon books today? Obviously, they have been replaced by chocolate-covered strawberries, Skype, e-mail cards and Facebook tributes. However, why not create a coupon book for someone you love. It does not have to be your mother. Mother’s Day can be a perfect Hallmark holiday excuse to honor or help someone who needs your care and assistance.
Maybe Mom who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis would rather have you drive them to the hospital one night unexpectedly rather than have to call ambulance attendant strangers once again. Maybe you could offer a Sunday a month to have dinner with that same friend who has remembered you in times of your own past dramas. Maybe you could just stop by and take out the garbage.
Or what about your long-time friend with fibromyalgia who would appreciate your coupons of lunch, brunch, a movie or an afternoon of favorite music and time to re-arrange her furniture that her lack of energy will not allow alone.
After six months of your childhood friend’s battle with chemotherapy due to leukemia, maybe you could offer to walk with her during the Avon Walk for Cancer this month or donate to this worthy cause. Maybe you need to just pick up the phone and tell your girlfriends, who are now cancer-free, what an inspiration they are to others suffering with illness.
Sit down with your colored markers, stickers, papers and scissors just like your children did for you. Take the time to bring joy to those special individuals that may not have as many years ahead of them as behind. Ask them, if necessary, what they truly need.
If you are in a business such as healthcare, insurance or financial planing, maybe you can give them time to help them organize their future, offering solutions for life insurance options, job advancement and retirement planning.
Mother’s Day should be a celebration of our own moms and a memorable tribute to those who have passed. However, never underestimate the power it has to recognize other women who mean that much.