Craig and Marc Kielburger founded Free The Children and Me to We. Their biweekly Brain Storm column taps experts and readers for solutions to social issues.
It used to be easy. Give us a piece of construction paper, a tube of crazy glue, a package of M&Ms and an hour to clean up the mess, and our Mother's Day gift was done. It was completely perfect in the eyes of our mother.
But the days of impressing mom with heartfelt, incomprehensible crafts are gone. Now, like many grown men, we struggle to find new ways every year to show mom how much we love her. A plate of undercooked pancakes or scrambled eggs with bits of shell no longer pass for an adequate expression of appreciation for all the sacrifice, time and love she has invested in our lives.
In high school, flowers were sweet because it's a new idea. In university, we'd make our weekly phone updates a bit more detailed. We've even put together a slideshow of old photos on a laptop for her, and donated to projects helping mothers overseas in mom's honour.
A guy in Seattle showed us all up by buying his mom tickets to the Super Bowl—the ideal gift for a woman who loved the Seahawks.
But the best-son-ever prize goes to Aba Atlas, a Torontonian who saved a part of his small military salary for almost three years to pay off his mom's mortgage in one surprise cheque. He captured the moment on YouTube, with the heart-melting quote, "I want to celebrate my life by celebrating the woman who gave me life."
Words, and likely even actions, can't say how grateful we are for everything our mother has done for us. Yet as the years pass, novel ideas are harder to find. The gift of time is increasingly difficult to give as distance and schedules get in the way.
We've brainstormed a few plans for this year—most of which admittedly include tissue paper, scotch tape and cinnamon hearts—but we could always use some more ideas. What do moms really want from their grown children for Mother's Day, and what are your best Mother's Day gift stories?
This week's question: how can older and adult children show their love for mom this Mother's Day?
Aba Atlas, super-thoughtful son
"Just think about who the gift is for, what you can do to lift her spirits. Often times its rarely material things—maybe it's a breakfast in bed, maybe it's alleviating her workload, or it could be just sharing a special part of you with her."
Kathy Lynn, parenting expert and mother of two grown children in Vancouver, B.C.
"Spending time with adult kids brings the greatest satisfaction for mothers, because they are still our kids and yet also interesting, mature adults. A casual dinner and stimulating conversation makes for a perfect Mother's Day."
Erica Ehm, publisher of YummyMummyClub.ca
"It all boils down to knowing your mother likes and doesn't like. Show her you love her by listening to her. If you don't know what she wants, do some detective work—call her friends and ask. The bonus: her friends will think you're the best son/daughter ever."
Have your say in the comment section.