Mother’s Day for Mrs. Martin


(Based on a true story)
Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself (Matt. 19:19).

“All seven of my cousins are going to be at my grandmother’s house for Mother’s Day,” Sarah said as she watered Mrs. Martin’s seedlings. “We always have a picnic lunch in the backyard.”

“That sounds like a lot of fun,” Mrs. Martin replied, pulling a tiny weed from a pot.

Every spring Sarah and Mrs. Martin, who lived next door, planted pumpkin, watermelon, and squash seeds in clay pots on Mrs. Martin’s sun porch. Later they would move the little sprouts to the garden in the backyard.

“What are you doing for Mother’s Day?” Sarah asked.

“I’m not sure. When is it, anyway?”

Sarah couldn’t believe that a grown-up didn’t know the date of Mother’s Day. At lunch she told Mom what Mrs. Martin had said.

“Well, Sarah, Mrs. Martin no longer has a mother or grandmother who’s alive,” Mom explained. “And since she has no children or grandchildren, it’s not surprising that she wouldn’t think about Mother’s Day.”

Sarah chewed her tomato sandwich thoughtfully. She understood what her mother had said, but something still seemed wrong.

She looked out the window and saw Mrs. Martin feeding dog biscuits to Mr. Anderson’s cocker spaniels. Mrs. Martin didn’t even have a dog, but she always kept a jar of dog treats for any neighborhood dogs who might stop by. And for the dog owners, Mrs. Martin always had a big basket filled with apples or pears.

“It just isn’t right,” Sarah said. “Somebody that nice should celebrate Mother’s Day.”

“I think you’re right,” Mom agreed.

Sarah went up to her room. Her desk was covered with art supplies for the cards she was making for her mom and grandma. She had already sprinkled green and pink glitter on the edges of two cards. She picked up a fresh sheet of paper and started writing.

Mothers and grandmothers are nice.
They give us help when we need help.
They talk to us about important things.
They find fun things for us to do.
They make good things for us to eat.
They give us hugs.
You do all these things, so I am saying Happy Mother’s Day to you!
Love, Sarah

Sarah worked on the card most of the afternoon, drawing vegetables all around its edges. Mrs. Martin always said that she would rather grow vegetables than flowers. She thought pumpkins and watermelons were “gorgeous.”

Then Sarah decorated an envelope to match and carefully printed “To Mrs. Martin” on the outside.

“It’s almost ready,” she said to Scooter, the tabby cat who had been watching from his perch on the windowsill.

“Mom,” Sarah called downstairs. “I need to call Grandma.”

“OK.”

After Sarah made her call, she turned over the card for Mrs. Martin and wrote on the back. Then she put it in the envelope and bounced down the stairs and out the back door.

Mrs. Martin was putting seeds into the bird feeder. “Hello, Sarah,” she called.

“Hi,” Sarah said. “This is for you.” She handed the card to Mrs. Martin.

“Should I open it now?”

“Yes. It’s a Mother’s Day card.”

“For me?” Mrs. Martin asked with surprise. “But today isn’t Mother’s Day!”

“No, but this card has to be opened early.”

Mrs. Martin opened the card and read it slowly. Then she turned it over to read what Sarah had carefully written on the back:

You are invited to be
an Honorary Mother
at a picnic at Grandma’s house
on Mother’s Day—
which is next Sunday.
Please come.

Mrs. Martin smiled. “Thank you, Sarah. Now we both know what I’ll be doing for Mother’s Day!”

[Be a Better Neighbor]

President Gordon B. Hinckley

“I hope that I will be a better neighbor and friend.” President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Each a Better Person,” Ensign, Nov. 2002, 99.

[illustrations] Illustrated by Brad Teare