Dear Mom, I Owe You My Life, Here’s A Gift Card

By Liz Galvao

Moms LOVE Kohl’s.

Dear Mom,

Happy Mother’s Day, from your loving daughter! I searched high and low for a gift that would rise to the occasion. What gift befits the woman I hold above all others, the woman who bore me, raised me, taught me right from wrong, and cared for me during my most insufferable ages? Is there any token I could give such a woman that would be worthy of her?

I’m not sure, but here’s a Kohl’s gift card!

Believe me, I know I owe you big, because you always killed it with presents for me, so I’m prepared to blow your mind with $50 to buy anything you want. (Although I do have some suggestions.)

When I was 8, and asked for Samantha’s high­-necked, Victorian nightgown from the American Girl catalog for Christmas (with a matching, miniature version for my doll), did you say no? That it was too expensive? That it was a very very dumb thing to spend money on? That it would be itchy, hot, probably flammable, and would make me look like a creepy ghost girl who died in a well? No, you made sure it was under the tree on Christmas morning, and I repaid you by wearing it exactly twice before shoving it into the back of my dresser (it was really itchy and hot).

Mom, you deserve as much generosity as you’ve shown me over the course of 29 years, during which time you somehow never once said, “I told you so.” Not when the goldfish I won at the school fair perished as soon as I insisted we buy a nice bowl for it. Not when the bondage pants I wore to the airport at age 15 set off the metal detector six ways to Sunday. Not even when you picked me and my friends up from the movie theater after we’d seen that horrible movie, Juwanna Mann. I’m sure it was excruciating.

Thinking about all the moments in my life when you chose kindness, chose empathy, chose generosity, it was easy to feel overwhelmed, to want to give up on finding you the perfect gift. How can a material thing represent something that can never be quantified? Shopping for a Mother’s Day gift is ultimately a futile task, because a mother’s love can never be repaid, right?


Hey, Mom: What’s that soaring toward you, in the sky? Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Or is it a Croft & Barrow floppy straw hat, with a faux floral accent? Just try and tell me I didn’t slam-dunk this shit! Floppy sun hats are to moms what hair ties are to cats: utterly irresistible. Uh, hello, isn’t this hat elegant enough to wear on vacation in Cape May, yet casual enough to wear when trimming the forsythia in the front yard? Try to top that with unconditional love, bitch!


Do you hear that, Mom? That’s the fluttering of a pair of rayon/spandex ­blend pajamas from the Simply Vera by Vera Wang collection flying into your arms, as if on angel’s wings. Shh, shh; I know what you’re thinking: “Capri PJ pants? At my age? Elizabeth, I’m not so sure about this.”

But I promise, this jacquard ­trimmed animal print is timeless, just like you.

Being our mother meant never getting a break. When you and Dad took us on that ill-­fated trip to Orlando, and everyone but you got food poisoning at Sea World the first night, it was you who emptied our trash cans full of puke, and you who stayed in to take care of us all week, even though Pleasure Island was right there, and you totally could have slipped out after we were sleeping to the fake New Year’s Eve party. Some version of this catastrophe happened on every single family vacation we took for 18 years, like some kind of Sisyphean curse, and yet you never complained. So here, have a fun blouse from the LC by Lauren Conrad collection, the kind you could have jauntily worn beachside, but never got a chance to!

Do you see that set of footprints in the sand, Mom?

No, that’s not Jesus: Those are a pair of slip­-on sandals from NaturalSoul by Naturalizer, making their way straight to your tired feet! Hush, please don’t protest: You deserve this. They’re available in wide sizes, too, to match the expansiveness of your love for me. Their manmade, molded insoles will support your arches, the same way you supported me for almost a year after graduating college with a film degree you advised me against.

Mom, you wanted the thankless, never­-ending job of parenting so much, you were picking out baby names on your honeymoon. Even though getting pregnant meant being on bed rest for six months, and giving up a promotion at your firm that it took you years of 60-­hour work weeks to even get near, you continue to tell us it was, “the best thing that ever happened to you.”

You’re either delusional, or working with a level of love that if harnessed, could power small cities.

So happy Mother’s Day to all, and congratulations to you mom, on having your mind decidedly blown by my generosity! I only hope that I can think of something half as amazing to give you next year.

P.S. Sorry in advance for sending it two weeks late.

(I’ve also thrown in some coupons from the latest newspaper. I know how much you like coupons.)

Your daughter

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