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A Mother’s Day Tradition with Meaning

For many years I’ve been blessed to be able to host Mother’s Day brunches that included three generations—my mother and my mother-in-law, my daughter, and myself. When my daughter became a mom six years ago and brought our first grandchild, there were four generations celebrating Mother’s Day.

In March, 2004 my beloved mother-in-law passed away at the age of 93. I knew it was going to be a difficult Mother’s Day for my husband without his mother. I wanted to do something meaningful that would both honor and remember our mothers.

I created a game for our traditional brunch that I called “Mother’s Day Not-So-Trivial Pursuit!” I composed a list of eight questions about our mothers and made copies for each person. After our meal, we wrote down our answers. When everyone was finished, we each took a turn reading what we wrote. We had such fun hearing the responses of each generation. It was the most memorable Mother’s Day we’ve ever had.

I encourage you to try this on Mother’s Day. You can adapt the questions for dads on Father’s Day! Here are the questions I used but you can certainly create different ones for your family.

  • Where was your mom born?
  • Name a close long time friend of your mom’s. How did they meet?
  • What advice did your mom give you?
  • What values did she teach you?
  • What is one trait of hers you admire?
  • Name one of her favorite interests, activities, or hobbies.
  • Where is one of your mom’s favorite travel destinations?
  • Name your mom’s favorite: sport, food, and music.

Here are a few of the answers that were written at our brunch:

What advice did your mom give you?

  • My mom’s: Always behave like a lady.
  • Her friend Roger’s: Walk straight, hands out of pockets.
  • My husband’s: Marry Donne, already!
  • Mine: Always be thoughtful to other people.
  • My daughter’s: Appreciate what you have; thank people for what they give you.
  • My son-in-law’s: Do your best.

What values did she teach you?

  • My mom’s: Never take advantage of others.
  • Her friend Roger’s: Honesty
  • My husband’s: Tolerance and patience
  • Mine: Family is the most important treasure in your life.
  • My daughter’s: Family is valuable and rituals can enrich your life.
  • My son-in-law’s: Good work ethic, honesty, family ties

Last year I  asked my five-year-old granddaughter what “advice” her mom gives her. I rephrased the question for her.

What are some things your Mama tells you to do that are important?
Juliet’s answer: Be polite; say please and thank you; share with my friends and be gentle with Amelia (her baby sister).

There are lots of ways to honor your mother on Mother’s Day. But showing her you know something about who she is may delight her in a completely new way. You might even learn something about her you never knew.

2 thoughts on “A Mother’s Day Tradition with Meaning”

  1. Susan, what a wonderful idea! I think it’s great to get people telling stories about their lives on any occasion.

  2. These are wonderful questions. I’m not sure I will use them on Mother’s Day, but they would be great for our next family reunion.

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