When Mom Can Hear and You Can’t

As my mother got older, our roles reversed, as they will when a parent reaches the ninth and even 10th decade. But there was one way in which she grew stronger, while I grew weaker. She could hear, and I couldn’t. In her 80s, my mother’s mind and body succumbed to aging. She developed dementia, she had frequent falls and was often wheelchair bound. She and my father had moved south to a retirement community, so as not to be …

Mother’s Day: What Women Really Want From Their Adult Kids

Mother’s Day brings a spending spree as Americans dole out a record $21 billion this year for cards, flowers, jewelry, gift certificates, electronics and gardening tools, as well as creating a crush at restaurants for brunch and dinner on Sunday. While the typical expenditure is $175, our 25- to 34-year-old children will spend the most of any age group, averaging almost $250. Of course, that doesn’t mean they are splurging only on moms; many will buy gifts for their wives …

The Mother Lode

My daughters, Alexandra and Jennifer (right), sure hit the gene jackpot: As heirs to my beauty and fashion sense, my steely self-confidence, my quick wit and collection of Chanel bags, these are two lucky babes, let me tell you. Along with those desirable traits, though, I worry that I’ve passed along some questionable ones: We share an addiction to eye makeup, over-the-top bling and I-could-smell-you-coming-a-mile-away perfumes. Look up “subtle” in the dictionary and there’s not a Johnson family photo in …

Blessings Near and Far: A Lesson in Honoring Elders

We arrived with jasmine garlands and two rosettes folded out of Thai baht. We slipped off our sandals and felt the cool, smooth tiles beneath us as we walked toward a woman sitting on her front porch. The woman was my friend Fon’s 90-year-old great grandmother, Chid. Fon had invited us – my friend Jess, my boyfriend Joe and me – to go to the beach, a few hours south of Bangkok. But first, she asked, could we stop to …

What’s Mom Worth? Between $62,985 and $118,905

It’s difficult to put a price tag on moms (or so we’d like to think). Nevertheless, as Mother’s Day approaches this Sunday, two websites calculated a mom’s worth based on her various jobs around the house. Think top chef, chief accountant, chauffeur and teacher. Using Bureau of Labor Statistics wage data that correlates with those jobs outside the home, Insure.com said moms are worth $62,985 in 2014. That’s higher than their value last year, which was $59,862. >> Sign up for …

5 Things on a Mother’s To-Do List for Mother’s Day

When the kids were growing up, Mother’s Day brought breakfast (crumbs) in bed, handmade gifts and special dinners. But with adult children, is the notion of “Queen for a Day” as outdated as the 1960s TV show? Over the years, our fantasy changes: At one time we wanted 10 minutes alone to take a shower. Now we want our adult children under the same roof at the same time. Stoked by the advertising hype, it’s easy to imagine a magical Mother’s …