There's two kinds of Mother's Day - the fantasy kind and the real kind.
The fantasy version can be spotted in jewelry store commercials and soap operas. They involve breakfast in bed (complete with a big bouquet of spring flowers), some type of jewelry in a box topped with a big red bow, and freshly scrubbed children offering to do all the chores.
I've been told such things exist in real life, but much like the equally elusive "fantasy" Valentine's Day, I've yet to see it with my own eyes. Around our house, Mother's Day is a much simpler affair - if it's an affair at all.
My first official Mother's Day passed largely unnoticed until, in a bit of a snit while driving to a family dinner, I huffed to my loving but forgetful husband that he'd "missed the boat."
His face fell.
"Oh," he said. "Right. Mother's Day."
"Yes," I replied, selfrighteous and cranky.
"My first one. The only first Mother's Day I'll ever have."
I fumed, thinking of all those mothers out there getting big bouquets of flowers, breakfast in bed and fancy jewelry.
A few minutes later, he pulled over at a drug store and announced he was going in for some gum - he returned with some bubble bath, a cold drink and a new Winnie the Pooh hairbrush.
My first Mother's Day gift.
Yes, that's right - he bought me a cartoon themed hair brush. It's bright purple. I think it glows in the dark.
And as lame as it may sound, I love that damn thing.
Every time I look at it, I think of my husband trying to fix what he'd forgotten - and I'm reminded that he's neither callous nor cold, but simply not so great at organization and planning.
He might tell me a dozen times in a month what a great mom I am - then forget to do so on that all-important day in May.
But what's more valuable in life? Good and kind 365 days a year? Or great at spending money on a couple of special occasions? I'll take the first, every time. (Mind you, there are those rare few individuals who seem to be good at both, but they too seem to be an elusive creature.)
Don't get me wrong, it's lovely to be celebrated, thanked and remembered, and as my kids get older, I hope they'll mark the occasion in their own way. But when it comes right down to it, it's not the "things" that make the day - it's the family you get to spend it with. Sound hokey and sentimental? Maybe, but it's true.
In that vein, here's a few ideas for ways to spend time, not a lot of money, with your family in Burnaby this Mother's Day:
? With the weather shaping up to be dry and sunny, grab a few blankets and pack up a lunch (or pick up a takeout pizza) and hit one of the local parks. As any mom knows, a little fresh air equals sleepy kids at bedtime. Win-win! Check out Deer Lake, Confederation Park, Fraser Foreshore Park or even just your local neighbourhood spot.
? Avoid busy restaurants and long lineups: cook up a simple meal for dinner at home on Sunday, using ingredients you picked up on Saturday at the weekly farmers' market. The market starts at 9 a.m., in the city hall parking lot.
? Celebrate on Saturday by helping out some "kids" of another kind: the fishy kind.
This year's Great Salmon Send Off in Burnaby happens Saturday, May 12, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the grounds of Stoney Creek Community School, 2740 Beaverbrook Cres.
Tell us how your family marks this day - or what your plans are for Father's Day next month - by emailing cmyers@ burnabynow.com.