The Mother’s Day Gift That Will Keep On Giving

Recently, my younger brother found out that my mother, who had been a concert pianist, had really wanted to be a lawyer.  He was stunned by that revelation. It  got me thinking about how well we know any of our parents.  With all of the advertising for Mother’s Day, and all of the possible gifts and flowers that you can buy, I wondered if there was a more appropriate gift – really getting to know your mom, not just as a mother, but as a person in her own right.  What questions could you ask that would lead you to a new sense of who your mom is?

I remembered a class I took in graduate school that included a segment on life history interviewing.  Even though it was designed for a geriatric population, I think that it is a good model for talking to our moms.  So try some of the questions listed below when you take mom out on Mother’s Day, or try them when it is just the two of you.   And let her see that you are really interested in her answers.

  • What did you play with as a child?
  • Who were your friends?  Are you in touch with any of them?
  • Were you a good student in school?
  • What subjects did you like the most?
  • What do you think is your greatest talent?
  • What do you think is your greatest achievement?
  • Has your life turned out the way you expected it to?
  • How did you meet Dad?
  • What did you want to be when you grew up?
  • What were the barriers that you felt as a young woman?
  • If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?
  • Do you like your job?
  • Were your parents proud of you?
  • What was your relationship like with your mom when you were a teen?
  • What was the best vacation you ever took as a child?
  • What were your favorite foods?
  • What was the house like that you grew up in?
  • Did you have any serious relationships before you met dad?
  • Was it hard for you as a young mother?

I am sure there are many more questions than the ones listed above.  You can insert some of your own that apply specifically to your mom.  And her answers will lead to yet more questions.

Yes, you can still buy mom flowers, but think of this as a chance to deepen and enrich your relationship with  your mother. I know that it will mean more in the long run.