In just a few weeks - on May 12 - the country will be celebrating Mother's Day.
I recently read about a family that had devised the ideal gift for their mother. It's one of those "costs nothing but means everything" efforts any mother would cherish.
The mom who was the focus of this gift reported her grown kids had found a large jar with a slot in the top and placed it on her kitchen counter. Each time one of them visited, they would deposit in the jar a written memory from their childhood.
The mother said when she was feeling a bit nostalgic or missing the little ones who were now all grown, she would take out a memory slip and read it. Recalling that particular piece of the past kept her connected to the family through a warm memory chain.
So, for those who are fortunate enough to still have their mothers in their lives, this idea could be the best gift ever.
A second gift Mother's Day brings to mind is one my daughter, Sherri, gave me some years ago. It was actually a two-way gift since I was to pass it back to her when I was finished with it.
The little treasure was a small book, the kind you can buy in a gift or card shop - but any little notebook would serve the purpose. The title emblazoned across the cover was "Mom, Tell Me About Your Life."
The book was composed of 365 pages, one for each day of the year. On each page there was a question for me to answer about my childhood and my growing-up years.
It took me several months to work through the little book, recalling bits and pieces of my past to share with Sherri. When it was finished, I gave it back to her.
Sherri has told she keeps the book beside her bed and dips into it from time to time when she's missing me. It keeps us both connected wherever we are.
The following are the kinds of questions I answered in Sherri's year of mother's memories. I'm including them here in order to give you a start on this type of memory book you might want to pass on to your own daughter, son or grandkids. Remember, you history is also their history.
Did you sleep with a stuffed animal or doll? If so, what was its name?
What did you see from your kitchen window?
Where did you take your first trip away from home?
Did you ever march for or against anything? If so, where and when?
Did your house have a basement? What was down there?
Who were your best friends in grade school?
What was your favorite music?
Describe your room.
What was your favorite food?
What was your favorite Christmas present?
Tell about the family car.
Who was your favorite actor/actress?
Beloved columnist and radio personality Paul Harvey summed up the importance of this kind of memory sharing with a comment that rings as true as ever today.
"The American family may need nothing more urgently than it needs to nourish and cherish its own roots," Harvey said.
So whether you're thinking of your own mother, or you are a mom wanting to surprise her children or grandchildren on May 12, start recording your memories. It's a gift you alone can give.