It’s a daunting task to buy a Mother’s Day gift. My mother is a woman who fed me, clothed me, put me through one overpriced educational institution after another, and tolerated me through my teenage years when sighing and saying, “This sucks,” was the most communication I’d offer. Clearly I should be forging her a medal—and encrusting it with an erector set of diamonds, but giant gemstones aren’t really in my budget. Luckily, my mother also taught me to be a champion shopper. And this year I’m putting those teachings to good use to shop for my mom, and all the other moms in my life.
The Cheerleader Mom
My mother was always the one rah-rah-ing from the sidelines at soccer practice, declaring my finger painting to be the stuff of Seurat, and encouraging my backyard gymnastics, crooked crocheting, and disco roller-skating. If there’s one person solidly in my corner, it would be her, backing my every fanciful hobby, even now. But my mom has her own dreams in life, and now I’d like to wave the pom-poms for her to get out there and have some adventures. That’s why I’m getting her a copy of Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Eat, Pray, Love. In her biography, Gilbert jumps from Italy to India to Indonesia shucking her old life and embracing new things: Italian pasta, Ashram meditation, and finally, an unexpected romance. This is the food of inspiration. I plan on giving it to my mother with the simple inscription, “Go, Mom, GO!”
The Finer-Things-in-Life Mom
There’s a scene in the movie Auntie Mame, where a young boy comes to New York to find his aunt and new guardian in the middle of a raging party where the champagne is free-flowing and the caviar is served by the troughful. In her household, Auntie Mame always brought out the good china, and not only did she eat off it every day, she probably licked the plate. This reminds me of my great aunt. She is a woman of impeccable taste, with the linens to match, but nothing is ever so precious that it shouldn’t be enjoyed. I’d love to get her this elegant Tiffany & Co. white woven platter. I know she won’t squirrel it away in a cabinet, but proudly display it and use it to serve canapés at impromptu gatherings. And if it breaks, well, as Auntie Mame would probably say, “That’s why man invented super glue.”
The New Mom
The perks of being a new mom are all obvious: this adorable, giggling little marshmallow of a human is all yours to fawn over every moment of the day. Unfortunately, the downside of being a new mom is also obvious: this howling hellion that will not nap or eat Cheerios is also yours to placate every moment of the day. For my dear friend Jessie, the rollercoaster ride of motherhood is just beginning. But I figure I can show her some appreciation while her son is still in PullUps, and what new moms need—aside from a full-paid nanny—is some deep, deep pampering. Laura Mercier’s French Vanilla Bath Trio is a tantalizing triumvirate of bath milk, body soufflé, and scented candle. The ingredients will make you want to eat your own skin, and the sweet perfumed lotion will make any new mother feel sumptuous—even with spit up on her shirt.
The Manga-Manga Mom
Every family has one of these. In my family, it’s my aunt. The moment I cross her threshold, I’m swept along to the kitchen where it seems the entire contents of the fridge are turned out like pockets in airport security. “Are you hungry? Hmmm? You want some leftover spaghetti? Some butternut squash soup? Wait! I have layered macaroni and cheese you’ll love!” And Tupperware after Tupperware comes tumbling out and placed in front of me. As usual, I can forget about trying to leave without taking a slab of brownies and a wedge of pie. Not that I can complain, because if people say they love you with food, then my aunt is shouting it. For a woman who takes so much joy in cooking, she already has the basics, so I need to surprise her with something a little more sophisticated, like this filled pancake pan from Williams-Sonoma. The stuffed pancakes it makes are a level above the standard brunch fare, but still hearty enough that they’re classic mom food. And if she uses it to make pancakes filled with Nutella, then sign me up for seconds—and thirds.