Ep 151: Your Best Mother’s Day Gift Ever – A Written Tribute
This coming Sunday in the United States we celebrate Mother’s Day. Eight years ago, I wrote a tribute to my writer-mom, reflecting on they way she modeled how to live the tension of being the mom she wanted to be while also being the writer she wanted to be.
This tribute included family stories and my own memories and fun photos that helped me remember. To honor her publicly, I published it on my website, though I could have written it as a gift and presented it privately.
Write Your Tribute
It’s not too late for you to write a tribute—a set of memories that celebrate and honor a mother in your life.
This mother can be your biological or adopted mother or a grandmother. This mother might be your wife. Maybe your children are grown and you have a daughter or daughter-in-law who has herself become a mother. This mother can be a friend or a mother-figure—sometimes a Sunday school teacher, guidance counselor, aunt, or neighbor will fill that role for someone.
Pick a mother you’d like to elevate, celebrate, and honor. Decide if you want to share it publicly and/or privately, then come up with a structure to write this tribute.
Resources to Support and Inspire Your Process
I’d like to suggest two resources that might help you, both of which—in full disclosure—are written or collected by friends of mine.
The Mother Letters
The first is The Mother Letters: Sharing the Laughter, Joy, Struggles, and Hope. This collection of short essays in the form of letters was compiled by Amber C. Haines and her husband, Seth Haines, who reached out to friends Amber knew online and in person asking them to send letters addressed to “Dear Mother.” Seth’s plan was to collect them and present them all together as a surprise Christmas gift.
So many letters poured in, Seth could barely manage all of them. But he did. He assembled and presented them to her that Christmas morning and Amber received a gift that spoke to her mama-life, as the letters, one after another after another, confessed, as she herself wrote, “how little any of us know and how precious it is to be right where we are and who we are” (The Mother Letters, 14).
The letters were from mothers to a mother; tributes to motherhood itself, encouragement for a mother; they celebrated motherhood and the power of the letter form.
Years later, Seth and Amber realized her Christmas gift held wisdom that could help many others, so they decided to pull a selection of the letters into a gift book. And that became The Mother Letters.
I mention it not only because it’s a lovely book and—full disclosure again—I confess I have a short essay included in the book. But I also mention it because the letter form is an excellent way to write a tribute.
Consider writing your tribute as a letter. Pack it with memories and spotlight the strengths this mother in your life is known for—strengths she may need to hear spoken back to her.
Everything That Makes You Mom
The other resource that can help you collect memories, compose your thoughts, and structure your project is Everything That Makes Your Mom: A Bouquet of Memories, by Laura Lynn Brown.
In this book, Laura offers prompts to draw out memories, often focusing on a topic or theme or time of year or type of memory. She includes brief vignettes—memories of her own mother—to serve as inspiration. She follows the vignette with questions which, as she writes in the introduction, “help to exercise your own memory muscles.”
And this gift book leaves space to write out your memories directly on the pages, so that the book itself can be given to the mother you are honoring, if you wish.
Write Your Tribute Today
At the time of this writing, there’s still time for you to write your tribute for Mother’s Day. But if you’re reading it later, write a tribute anyway.
What mom wouldn’t love to be celebrated in this way on Mother’s Day or any day…memory by memory, by someone she loves who remembers her laughter, joy,