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Sunday, April 22 Opinion

In the Suburbs / A quiet Mother's Day is her perfect gift

For my beautiful wife of nearly 48 years, this Mother's Day will be very predictable -- as usual. While billed as a day to celebrate all moms, the only celebration Mari-ann appreciates is peace and quiet and probably a nice, long afternoon nap.

Of course, our two daughters always hold out hope that mom will change her routine, but I assure them it won't happen. As always, they've already called to ask what mom might need this year. And I've told them politely, as I do every year, "Mom needs and wants nothing, guys. She'll gladly take your phone call or text, she might cave in and accept a gift card to a great quilting shop or fabric store, and she'll always take a creamy Snickers or dark chocolate Hershey bar.

Our older daughter, Stacey -- they never change -- pushed back as always and said that she'd love to take mom shopping at Chico's for that special top or outfit. I chuckled softly and said that her mom still has to get past the reality that she's not so overweight that she can't find something nice to wear from Chico's. I footnote that comment with, "Good luck on shopping. I've been fighting that battle for years."

Then she asks if we're doing breakfast and quickly mentions that she has to tutor in the afternoon so it would need to be early. I simply tell her it's her call on that one.

Our younger daughter, Jeri, in Michigan, apologized for having no money and offered a movie gift card and that perfect chocolate candy bar.

"Sold," I told her. Just send it regular mail and please call mom on Sunday. I said that some of her husband, Gervasio's, homemade guacamole, made in person, would really be the perfect gift. But we'd have to wait until Thanksgiving for that delicacy.

I stopped showing up with the perfect piece of expensive jewelry about 10 years ago when my wife started loving beads, particularly black and white from craft fairs, and accent pieces mostly from Chico's. Knowing I could never return the jewelry, I reverted to gift cards and more unusual beads and fun pieces. Occasionally, I get lucky and she likes what I bought.

The perfect gifts for my wife, I've learned, are letting her sleep late, listen to National Public Radio for hours and lounge around most of the day. And if she decides to take a two-hour nap, just go away quietly.

Do we resent her simplicity and lack of holiday spirit around Mother's Day? Hardly. The girls and I know we're loved that much more because we're willing to respect mom's privacy and not push her into some fancy meal that she'll tell us will only add to her waistline.

And we think the girls believe that they have been very lucky in the mom category. Despite their mom's quirks about this holiday, she has raised two wonderful, independent daughters who can take care of themselves.

And Jeri shares her mom's talent for science and medicine and her mom's ability to cook and, especially bake. Older daughter Stacey shares mom's love for travel and celebrating happy occasions, Mother's Day aside.

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Both girls have mom's beautiful features and long eyelashes, especially Jeri. And Stacey has wonderful, thick curly hair like her mom, albeit more blonde than brunette these days. They are both beautiful, but that's the prejudiced dad speaking.

Like so many moms, my wife has lamented on many occasions that she wished she was a better mom. But she's shared that she's just not the type to spend hours in the mall with the kids -- she hates shopping. She was never a coffee klatch mom, who spent hours with the neighbors, And I think she's a wonderful mom.

Fortunately, she was blessed with two daughters who liked to sleep as much as she does and she simply set up their breakfasts when they were toddlers and caught a little extra shut eye while they ate. She told that story at a get-together with a group of couples when we first moved to Fairfield, and you would have thought she was some negligent parent. Most of the moms were mortified, and the dads liked it.

So this Sunday, I'll be up and out bright and early for a trip to the gym and the girls know not to call before 11 a.m. It's Mari-ann's day for earned peace and quiet and we'll gladly celebrate Mother's Day her way like we always do.

Steven Gaynes is a Fairfield writer, and his "In the Suburbs" appears each Friday. He can be reached at: stevengaynes44@gmail.com.