Saturday, 11 May 2013

Greening Mother's Day

Mother's Day has always been a bit of a problem for me.

I don't want my children to feel forced into doing something nice for me just because the calendar says they are supposed to do it; they should be free to do so whenever they feel like it. I have tried over the years to do this for my own mother; thoughtful little gifts or cards at random times, helping her by running errands when she is unable, giving her hugs and telling her I love her.

Then again, let's be honest and admit that much like Valentine's Day, we often don't tell someone how we feel about them or do thoughtful things for them unless we are reminded. 

Mother's Day can cause a lot of grief for people as well. They feel the need to buy expensive gifts, jewellery, flowers and fancy cards with rhyming sentiments written by someone else. There are mothers' expectations (yes, I have them too) that are all too frequently dashed by reality, and we all know that expectations are often the root of unhappiness. 

I have always felt that the thought that went into the gift, regardless of the gift itself, is the most important part. I don't want a store bought card from my daughters. One of my interests is card making so I understand the effort that goes into making them for others. In fact, I inwardly cringe when I see one of my homemade cards get tossed to the side or even worse into the recycle bin. I keep every homemade card I receive (even if just for the inspiration to make one of my own). I don't care if my daughters' cards were printed on a computer by their teachers and they merely coloured it for me. They are excited to give it to me. 
The card I have made for my mother this year.

But I'm sure many mothers have received colossally horrible gifts for Mother's Day. I believe one year I  gave my own mother a plant from the school fair. She was very hurt when I said, "It was free Mum!" because of the off-hand manner in which I gave it to her. I wonder how many mothers will receive "World's Best Mother" mugs this year that will sit on a shelf gathering dust or "job coupons" that will be unused.

Knitted dish cloth for Mother's Day
This year my job-share partner and I taught our students how to knit so they could make dish cloths for their mother. I love how hard all of them worked on their knitting, many taking it home to work on the presents. I hope their mothers appreciate the gift, regardless of the holes and dropped stitches, because of the time that went into them. I feel good doing this activity with my students because it promotes reusing rather than disposing. Paper towels and napkins are a particular pet peeve of mine (energy in the processing, bleaching, energy in the transport, one-use product).

My Little holding the begonia she planted for me.
Two of my daughters have given me their Mother's Day gift already. My youngest planted a begonia for me at the preschool Mother's Day Tea (a much loved tradition) and my middle daughter, Banana Girl, gave me a potpourri of plants she grew in kindergarten. She was so thrilled to give it to me because she knows how much I enjoy vegetable gardening. It has beans and nasturtiums in it to name a couple. I love the idea of living plants for Mother's Day.
Beans, Nasturtiums and cat grass from my kindergartener.

I am not a fan of the family Mother's Day brunch. I prefer to spend the day with my girls and husband doing an outside activity that I enjoy. The David Suzuki Foundation has a 30x30 challenge to inspire people to spend thirty minutes a day for the month of May outside and this is perfect for Mother's Day! Last year I wanted to visit the U.B.C. Botanical Garden Greenheart Canopy Walk, but that had to wait until later in the summer. In previous years we have gone on family bike rides or to Stanley Park. This year I will be spending the morning at a gymnastics meet for my oldest daughter but if the weather permits I would like to go to the Reifel Bird Sanctuary on Westham Island in Ladner (we can actually see Westham Island from the river bank here in Steveston).
At the UBC Greenheart Canopy Walkway with my girls.

For Mother's Day this year, I hope more people try the following:

  • make rather than buy
  • give a living plant rather than cut flowers
  • get outside and enjoy time together as a family

However you celebrate Mother's Day, have a great weekend.

Happy Mother's Day!





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