My family moved to the United States just before I entered the first grade. If learning english wasn't already hard enough, I had to keep up with American holidays too?! I'd never heard of Halloween or Mothers Day or Fathers Day. With how in love my parents were, it seemed like everyday was Mothers Day or Fathers Day.
The week before Mothers Day, my second grade teacher took everyone's picture and said it was for a special project. Once the photos were printed, we cut out our pictures to make bookmarks for our moms. I cut out my face in the shape of a heart, glued it to a red strip of paper, added sparkly stickers and wrote "I love U Mommy" before turning it in to the teacher. Once the bookmarks were laminated, I made a tassel out of yellow yarn and wrapped up the book mark in some floral-print paper.
As a college kid on a budget, Mother's Day was always a struggle between being thoughtful and not looking too cheap next to my sister's extravagant gifts. My crafty impulse dragged me into a ceramic painting studio. Inspired by the beautiful mugs in edgy boutiques, I thought, "I can make that!" and I was quite mistaken. My failed attempt at making fine art ended up looking more like a 4th grade art class assignment. The endless layers of paint looked like paper mache instead of the smooth canvas I had to start with.
I washed off most of the paint, covered the whole thing in bright blue and used a sgraffito to carve hearts all around the outside. I picked up my 'crafty experiment' a week later. I might've been better off spending the fifteen bucks on a hand crafted mug from one of the upscale boutiques, but I saw some potential in what I made. I wrapped pink ribbon around the mug handle, found a nice box of tea and wrote a note that read, "I made this for you to remind you I still have the same toothy grin and art skills I had in grade school. Happy Mother's Day."
After dinner at my parents house recently, I went looking for a pen. I opened the kitchen drawer and there was my bookmark, still in perfect condition. And if I open the mug drawer, my mom's blue mug is right there too. Every birthday card, mother's day card and letter home is saved in a folder in dad's desk. It doesn't matter if you're 6 or 20 or 35, your mom always appreciates your gifts and the things you do for her. It took me a long time to understand all the things my mom did for me everyday. I wish it occurred to me sooner, but now, the best and easiest thing I can do is tell my mom how much I love her everyday and maybe throw in the occasional card, bookmark or painted mug. Your mom will always appreciate the stuff you make her for Mother's day or any day. It's important to show mom you'll need her to matter how old you get and the little things like cards and homemade gifts are usually the perfect reminder.
(Marina Orievsky studied Communication at the University of Washington where she put her focus on journalism and social media. She has worked with Revolution Inc. and Papersalt since January 2012, contributing blog material about life lessons and about her personal experiences with transitioning from teenage years to adulthood.)