by River Clegg
(1) Don’t buy low quality macaroni. Sure, the generic brand is half the price, but she’ll be able to tell; she’s your mom. You better believe she knows the difference between Barilla and Safeway brand macaroni. The last thing you want going through her head when you hand her the card on Monday or Tuesday is, “Gosh, first (s)he forgets and then (s)he won’t even pay the extra dollar for decent dried pasta.” Also, you want the card to last. It’s well known that generic macaroni is made from petrified sawdust and will fall apart after a few weeks.
(2) Make the card specific to your mom. Anybody can glue macaroni in the shape of a heart or a flower. You’re not celebrating the general concept of motherhood; you’re celebrating your mother. Make it creative and make it about her. For instance, you can arrange the macaroni in the shape of her dog or have it illustrate her favorite scene from Shakespeare.
Note: If you recreate the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet, you’ll want to use a straight pasta like penne for the balcony, or possibly even spaghetti if you want very precise lines. Technically it’s no longer a macaroni card at that point, but she’ll forgive you if you really capture the moment and she’s a big fan of the play.
(3) Don’t bother with glitter. You want it to be memorable, but if it’s too over the top or seems too needy, she’ll just lose respect for you. Try to make it special without compromising aesthetic integrity. A more elegant substitute is to buy multiple sizes of macaroni and make finer details with the smaller noodles. Yes, this will jack up the price a bit. But you can always cook what you don’t use, and you’re not really in a position to complain anyway; you’re the one who forgot about Mother’s Day. Idiot.
(4) Try to refrain from eating macaroni while you make the card. You’re likely to get crumbs on it and she’ll know why. Nothing says, “you did a crappy job raising me” like eating uncooked pasta straight from the package.
(5) If the day you’re planning on giving her the card also happens to be her birthday, do not under any circumstances forget to mention it. This is probably the worst possible way to exacerbate an already delicate situation. Your best bet it to try to play it off like the whole reason you “forgot” Mother’s Day was to set up an even more elaborate surprise for her birthday. Maybe try to make a cake shape out of macaroni on the card.
(6) This may sound odd, but give it to her while she’s eating. There are two reasons for this. One is that, if she is eating somethings she likes, she is more likely to overlook your thoughtlessness and just smile and enjoy your handiwork. But, if not, she can’t immediately yell at you if her mouth is full. This gives you a couple of seconds to say something adorable to get yourself out of hot water.
(7) If she brings up that you missed Mother’s Day, don’t give her the card to deflect criticism. Just smile knowingly like it was part of your plan all along. Then take her out for a nice dinner and give it to her there. Then it seems more like you knew what you were doing the whole time.
(8) Make sure you flag next Mother’s Day in your calendar.
Note: If you gave birth to Jordy, Melissa, or River, thank you and happy Mother’s Day! Your macaroni card should be arriving any day now. It’s probably the postal service’s fault that it hasn’t arrived yet.
-Jordy Greenblatt, Melissa Chiasson, and River Clegg