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What Mom never told me

May 10, 2012
by Sandra Hoban
| Reprints

It’s no secret that Mother’s Day is coming. A trip down the greeting card aisle leaves no doubt. Did you know, however, who created Mother’s Day? Credit Anna Jarvis with her efforts to have children set aside one day to spend with and revere their mothers. It’s an interesting story.

But that’s not the reason I want to talk to you. Did you ever wonder how your mom made that special something for lunch? A great dessert? My mom’s gone and I’ve been trying to dummy up some of her recipes since then. (It hasn’t worked and online recipes just don’t have her “secret” ingredient.)

That’s not to say that I don’t have her recipes—I do. Except my mom was a stream-of-conscious writer and she left out ingredients and/or amounts so I’m pretty lost. No one has ever mistaken me for a good cook.

My point here is that once someone’s gone, the answers aren’t there anymore. Many LTC organizations help a resident create his or her life story, which is a wonderful personal “gift” to families. There are many online resources available to help with the basics. The National Association of Activity Professional has one in its spring Issue.

However, I just don’t think they go deep enough. Use the suggested questions as a springboard to other memories, then add your own such as:

  • Did you ever get in trouble at home?
  • Where did you go on your first date?
  • What was the funniest thing ever happened to you?
  • How do you make “rock” soup?

You get the idea. What a treasure to present to a family! Be sneaky. Ask them what they’d like to know about their mother.

While you’re at it, why not take a form home and have your children find out more about you. Don’t let this just be another “Hallmark”* holiday—make it your own.

Happy Mother’s Day!

*Since I live in Cleveland, home of American Greetings, the names are interchangeable. The double H’s just work better.

Sandra Hoban

Managing Editor

Sandra Hoban



Sandra Hoban has been on Long-Term Living’s editorial staff for 17 years. She is one of...



A subject near and dear to my heart. So often I find out after the passing of a parent or grandparent that they had fascinating lives. Wouldn't it be better to have a cup of coffee with them and find out what it was like to _________________. But trying to get them to tell us about these often life changing experiences is often impossible.

So many of the life experiences are lost because our parents and grandparents are reluctant to tell of their lives. Perhaps they find them boring, but many of us find them fascinating.

I posted these comments in www.goldenboomers.com (same name facebook) with links to your article. You are dead on. It is sad to think of all the history that is lost because this generation is reluctant (or to modest) to tell of their experiences. Well done.