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A Master of Mother's Day Gifts

By his own description, Bill Dodds has been “writing professionally since the days of carbon paper” and is a prolific contributor to the Catholic press. He and his wife, Monica are editors of My Daily Visitor magazine and head up many other projects. They live in Seattle, Washington, and have three adult children and two grandchildren.

Fathers for Good asked Bill, who has been married for 36 years, how he keeps Mother’s Day gifts fresh and original after so much time.

Fathers for Good: How many Mother’s Day cards have you given to your wife?

Bill Dodds has kept his wife, Monica, happy on Mother's Day for 36 years..

Bill Dodds has kept his wife, Monica, happy on Mother's Day for 36 years.

Dodds: I have no idea! I’m sure I never gave her any store-bought ones. I’m more inclined to write something myself. Nothing fancy or long, but sincere.

FFG: What was the best gift you think you ever gave her?

Dodds: About 15 years ago, I gave her an Adirondack chair for the patio. It’s still out there and she still uses it.

FFG: What was the best gift she thinks she ever got?

Dodds: I suspect the most memorable was a dozen baby chicks. (For a while, when the kids were little, we had chickens, ducks and rabbits!) And for a number of years we’d go on a family weekend camping trip, the first of the summer season. Now, with just the two of us, a weekend motel trip is a hit. Not necessarily on Mother’s Day weekend. We consider that a “movable feast.”

FFG: You’re a master of the advice column. Tell our readers how you keep Mother’s Day fresh and relevant after these many years?

Dodds: Glad you asked. I have a piece of carbon paper right here:

1.It helps to remember why you’re thanking someone who isn’t your mother: She’s your kids’ mom – and what a vital role that is whether your kids are tots or all grown up. Boy, would you be in hot water without her doing so much in so many ways! By showing your appreciation for her, you help your children better appreciate her, too.

2. Make sure a gift is something she would want, not something you’d like to have.

3. This one is important for husbands who feel they’re off the hook if she says not to get her anything. Get her something even if she says she doesn’t want anything. It doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy but it should be something you put some thought into. Think before you hit the mall!
I’ll give an example: Monica really likes Junior Mints. This Valentine’s Day I got her a box of heart-shaped ones.

4. Shop with the kids if they’re little. Send them reminders if they’re grown up. Model the behavior you want them to show by how you honor your own mom on Mother’s Day.

5. Show appreciation day in and day out throughout the year – doing things for her and with her – and the big pressure is off on Mother’s Day, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, your anniversary and her birthday. Nice gifts a few times a year can’t make up for being thoughtless or absent the rest of the time. The gifts are the cherry on the sundae. The sundae is your marriage and what a sweet thing a happy marriage is. That’s what she really wants . . . every day.