Mom Real Life

A Simple, Meaningful Mother’s Day Gift

hhm - best mother's day gift ever

It was the gift about which she said,

I do not think that I have ever appreciated such a gift as that you gave me on Mother’s Day 5 years ago…

A “Thank You, Mom” Jar

IMG_8061It’s simple.  It’s inexpensive. It’s not time-consuming.  It doesn’t require much creativity or even resources.  And yet, it is a simple, meaningful Mother’s Day gift that will keep giving your special mom pleasure year after year.

Five years ago, it was the gift I gave to my own mother.  Today, she wrote to me and said, “I do not think I have ever appreciated such a gift as that you gave me on Mother’s Day five years ago.  To have a jar filled with neatly-wrapped messages only to be opened on a Monday – 52 messages.  I could not wait for the Mondays to open a message.   Many a time tears ran down my cheeks.  Some of the things I had forgotten. I kept an empty jar and transferred each message into the jar once opened.  I felt so loved. I was especially touched that you took the trouble to write out each loving note thanking me for being your mum and for the things you so appreciated that I had done for you over the years.   You decorated the jar so prettily  – I was ‘blown away’.  The jar has a special place in our bedroom.  Each year I open the jar and, with much excitement and appreciation, I read the sweet messages you wrote to me over and over again!”

This gift needs only a few resources, that you probably already have in your home, and a little bit of a trip down memory lane.

You’ll Need

  • an empty jar
  • strips of paper
  • a pen / a printer
  • bits and bobs to decorate the jar
  • 52 special memories of your mom

3 Simple Steps

Write / type 52 different memories of your mom from over the years.

Special memories.  Funny memories.  That time she made you laugh.  The silly song she always sang.  That piece of advice you follow today.  Her special scent.  Her quirky sayings.  Just: 52 memories that make up your mental image; your emotional imprint of your mom.  When I made my mom’s jar, I had a wonderful hour remembering all the many things that makes my mother so special.  Each note began, “Thank you, Mom, for…”  And then I thought of various moments in our lives together where she made an impact on me.  Of course, it can get tricky trying to remember 52 totally different things, so here are some ideas to get you thinking:

Thank you for…

… a special holiday / vacation (the annual family vacation growing up?)

… housework / mothering moments (cooking? cleaning? teaching the art of ironing?)

… help with school work growing up (tricky math tests?)

… special gifts / kindness (especially those you didn’t deserve!)

… specific advice / teaching moments (about boys? friendships? respect?)

… conversations (those mother-daughter conversations that shaped your thinking?)

… being an example (hospitality? kindness to strangers? love of reading?)

…special family traditions (after school cookies and milk? Christmas stories? family dinners every night?)

Pop each memory into the jar.

You can hand write or type-and-print each of your separate memories.  I typed mine up in a table format on MS Word, making it easy to cut them out.  Roll each memory up into a tiny scroll and pop it into the jar.

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Decorate the jar

Use what resources you have at home, or pop down to the nearest craft / scrapbooking store.  Then, decorate the outside of the jar, making sure to label it somewhere:  “Thank You, Mom”.  Include some instructions that tell her to open one special memory per week for the rest of the year, until next Mother’s Day.  My jar’s instructions said, “Once a week, for the rest of the year, treat yourself, to a little cheer…  For within this jar, lies a sweet thank you, for all you have done, and all that you do.  All my love and verbal hugs, Taryn”

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Being blessed with a wonderful mom is something worth celebrating.  Being a mom is worth celebrating too. And what better way than to spend a little time thinking about all the things that your mom did to shape your life and your own mothering today?  This “Thank You, Mom” Jar has been, without a doubt, the best gift I have ever given my mom.  It’s been 5 years since I made the jar, and still today she will take out a note from time to time to smile at a memory that we both share.   And that is, to me, the best gift she could give in return.

~

Because I have received loads of questions about some of the specific memories I’ve included in my mom’s jar, here are a few samples to help you further still:

 

Thank You #50: ”

Thank you for stocking our fridge with all sorts of treats, meals and extra goodies to give to our visitors with each child we had.  Coming home from hospital with Kiera to find a 3 course meal laid out for us was overwhelmingly emotional!  Knowing that at least dinner was ready and so perfect when everything else in our world had changed so dramatically meant so much to me!

Thank You #51

Thank you for making sure that our family sat down to dinner almost every night of the week growing up.  Some of my fondest memories of home life are of the healthy, varied meals and the long conversations we used to have around the dinner table as a family.

Thank You #20

Thank you for all the little cards, notes and little tiny gifts you snuck into my suitcase when I left for the USA in 1994.  My nervous arrival with my host family was less scary when I opened my suitcase to find touches of your love scattered all over it!  Finding little cards and notes, weeks and sometimes months later reassured me of your love.  Thank you!

Thank You #27

Thank you for sewing tons of tracksuits, skirts and other items of clothing for me as I was growing up.  You have never felt confident about your sewing skills, yet you have always persevered and sewn us so many fun and great things!  I will never forget the feeling of a brand new, four square tracksuit top that was so fashionable in the 80s – the fuzzy warmth and the fresh smell of new fabric straight off the sewing machine!

Thank You #30

Thank you that you cry.  I know that that sounds crazy, but I so appreciate that you show your emotions and don’t hide them in an attempt to be stoic or strong.  I am encouraged that you are human and that you know you need to rely on God.

Thank You #1

Thank you for all the washing, hanging, sorting, folding, ironing, washing, hanging, sorting, folding, ironing you have done for me over the years, especially when I was too selfish, young and ignorant to know just how much work it is!

About the author

Taryn

Taryn Hayes calls Cape Town, South Africa her home. The crazy antics of her husband, Craig, and their four kids feature regularly over at their family blog, Hazy Days. Taryn is also the author of the youth novel, Seekers of the Lost Boy, about a 12-year-old homeschooled boy and his family. They end up on an incredible adventure after finding a mysterious message in a bottle, washed up on the beach one morning. Read more at her author site: http://tarynhayes.com

2 Comments

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  • Wow, this was such a great idea! I’ve been sick, so I didn’t do a jar, just a list. Still, my mom was overwhelmed. She felt so appreciated. She is very appreciated, but I don’t express it enough. Thanks. 🙂

  • I am a mother of 4. My children are grown up now. My youngest is 24 but living at home due to going to school and working towards going into a nursing program. This idea has moved me to tears. What a way to become grateful! My mom was not the cuddly type. She would say we raised ourselves – and yet I think I will make the list of 52 things. I realize there are always things to be thankful for. I looked at my childhood as a nightmare most of the time – but just for the purpose of viewing it from another perspective, I am going to do this. If I get 52 things I will send her a jar! I also realized as I read the things you were thankful for, and the tips, that I have felt very unappreciated from my own kids. (I didn’t realize I felt that way). I may send this link to my oldest daughter for her to get her siblings and herself on board! (Or I could just tell her about it – and hope she’d take the hint 🙂
    Thank you for such a precious gift!
    Marisa from California

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