Sunday is Mother's Day, guys. Did you forget?? Well don't worry, you still have two more days to get something nice for the lady what made you. Here are our guaranteed-to-please gift ideas.
For the Mother Who...
...Always Says "Oh, We'll Just Have Leftovers"
This mom needs to get out of the house. Or at least she needs to feel like she has the possibility of getting out of the house. The perfect gift for this mom is a restaurant gift certificate. Not to Outback Steakhouse. Not to any place that could be found one of those depressing neon-lit strips that exist out by the new shopping mall. Like a real, nice, cloth napkin restaurant. Maybe something called Les French Word or Italian Name Trattoria. If such a thing doesn't exist in this mom's town, the most expensive "family restaurant" that puts pats of butter on the steaks will do. Mind you, this gift certificate will never be used. She'll always say she's going to use it for "a special occasion," maybe when her sister is in town, but she'll always forget. Secretly she doesn't see the point in spending all that money on a single meal, but she won't tell you that. So it'll sit in the desk drawer for a year or two until your sister comes back from college or living in Colorado and you get stoned and find it when looking for your dad's old cigarette stash, and you'll use it yourselves, feeling a little guilty but mostly enjoying the only-semi-decent meal.
...Really Liked Mamma Mia! When It Was In Town That One Time
This mom wants to see another show, but you want her to see something totally different, so maybe you should buy her tickets to something a little more experimental. Not people writhing around on the ground covered in buttermilk or anything, but maybe a serious, edgy new play? A hard-edged, swear-filled rock musical? She'll open the envelope and read the tickets and say "Oh how nice. I hope you're my date!" And you'll go together and she'll sit there for the first act quietly, clapping politely when it's called for, and during the intermission you'll ask her what she thinks and she'll say "It's interesting!" and you'll know that she doesn't really like it, and you'll feel bad. But in the car ride home she'll keep remarking at how nice all the sets were and that it was really just nice to spend an evening with you and see "what kinda stuff you're liking these days," and when you come home for another visit months later, the program will be on the coffee table, featured prominently, with the ticket stub still inside.
...Thinks You Ought to Go Back to School
Apply to grad school, get in, go. This is a great gift! Sure it might sound a little selfish, but it's really not. This way she'll know that you're doing something that's good for your mind and something that she can put in the annual family Christmas later. "What a busy year it's been! I can't believe I'm sitting down to write this letter already. Bob and I are doing just fine, spending more and more time at the Sarasota house these days. We might try to go the whole winter down there next year. The kids are flourishing as always. Susie moved back east after a challenging year in Colorado and has found a good job that she likes at a local restaurant, Les French Word. She's always been very interested in food and wine, so it seems like a good fit for her. She's saving up to rent an apartment near the restaurant. And Timmy is back in school! Yes, he's working towards a master's in humanities at Blank State, studying hard (and, I hope, meeting someone special!). We're very proud." She will love writing that letter.
...Is Still Mad About That Thing
This mom is, yes, still pretty upset about that thing. You apologized and picked up everyone at the airport at Thanksgiving, and that was like three trips back and forth, but she still just seems a little disappointed in you. To fix this situation with a Mother's Day gift, you should get her that one thing she said she wanted a while back and you remembered for some reason. When you go to the store it's going to be way more expensive than you thought — "Whoa, really??" you'll say to the sales clerk. "OK, if that's what they cost..." — but when you give it to her she'll look at it and tear up and say "I can't believe you remembered! How did you remember I wanted this?" You'll shrug your shoulders nonchalantly, very pleased with yourself, and say "I dunno. I just did." She'll give you a big hug and will kiss you on the cheek and you'll know that she's not mad about that thing anymore. Unfortunately the Labor Day Incident will go and ruin all that good will all over again, so you'll have to repeat this whole process at Christmas.
...Just Came Out of the Closet, at 60
Basically you need to get her something that tells her that while you still feel bad for dad, you're happy for her. You should probably buy something not too freighted with meaning. Maybe some nice wind chimes for the new house in Northampton? One of those beaded seat covers for the Subaru? Fleece vests. Old-ish lesbians like those, right? Definitely not flowers. Well, maybe flowers. She still likes to garden, right? That's not, like, a straight ladies only kind of thing. But if she still gardens, she doesn't really need flowers. So, um... Oh, wasn't there something in the Coldwater Creek catalog she said she liked? Or maybe something for her new, uh, friend Joyce's dog? Basically give her something nice and small and try not to feel weird during lunch or say anything about the haircut. You'll figure out something really good for next year.