Normally we reserve surveys sent to letter writers and readers to serious topics, like global warming, the Iraq war and immigration. But, occasionally, we ask this informed group of folks to tell us what they think about lighter topics. This week, we sent out a survey on Mother’s Day, that most commercial of celebrations.

What we found was that moms and the people who love them believe that the best gift comes from the heart. In Sunday’s Forum pages, we share readers observations in a column on Mother’s Day. Unfortunately, we couldn’t include all the comments from the 250+ people who responded. Below are some that didn’t make it into the column. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did.

Happy Mother’s Day.

— Ann DuBay

WHAT MOM’S WANT:

For my youngest daughter to be rid of cancer

Peace within the family

My house cleaned by my kids

Electric bike

My son will be home on leave!

Time with each child alone, without spouses or kids

MOST MEMORABLE GIFT RECEIVED

Homemade cards and gift were by far the most memorable.

A card from my mom telling me I was a good mom.

Trip to Disneyland with my family — a good time to go.

Don’t recall — too commercialized.

A whole day with my teenage sons, no interruptions.

MOST MEMORABLE GIFT GIVEN

I bought a scarf for my mother with my allowance.

Nothing memorable. Isn’t that terrible?

I was born on Mother’s Day 🙂

COMMENTS AND STORIES

Haven’t spoken to my mother in years…

When I was 6 or 7 my dad owned a hardware store. I came to him with my life savings, maybe $2, and told him I wanted to get the perfect gift for my mother for Mother’s Day. He told me to pick out anything in the store. As I remember the store, it seems to be all about keys and tools, but somehow I found a salt and pepper shaker shaped like a bowling pin and ball. I insisted this was the perfect gift, much to my father’s dismay, as my mom did not bowl. I actually remember my mom unwrapping this gift and her delighted exclamations. What makes this story poignant to me is that my mother died a year later and our family basically fell apart. We have little left to remind us of our mother, but that salt and pepper shaker survived somehow. It is in my pantry right now, 40 years later.

As a new mom, I discouraged celebration of Mother’s Day because I thought it was simply a gimmick of the greeting card companies to promote card sales. Although this may have been the origin of the day, I came to regret my decision over the years as the rest of the world seemed to happily celebrate the day and my family made no big deal of it. I had to re-state my position, and now I love when my grown sons recognize the day.

This likely will be the last Mother’s Day I have with my mother, as she’s very ill. I’ll savor it with her, and let her know how much I love her.

I stopped living with my mother at the age of 11. I used to dread trying to pick out a Mother’s Day card for her because they were all variations on the theme of “you were always there for me” and they didn’t apply to my mother. I love being a mother, even though it can be exhausting at times. I agree with a quote from a mom who said “I want my kids to know that, not only was I there, but that I enjoyed the ride.” I often tell my kids that I am the luckiest mom in the whole wide world. (Of course, I haven’t gone through the teenage years yet!)