If you are over 50, and still have your mother, you are lucky.
Even if the relationship is fraught, there is someone on this earth who cares about you in a way no one else does.
When one's mother is in her 70s, 80s or 90s, she is likely to say, "Don't make a fuss". You may be in that rarest of positions, knowing exactly what she would love.
You could give a gift of time or effort, such as planting a windowbox or taking her to visit a friend.
But if you want to give a gift, here are some choices for matriarchs or any elder woman whom you wish to celebrate on Mother's Day, a birthday or just because. Spontaneous gifts are especially appreciated; joyful surprises are relatively few in later years.
She may tell you that you shouldn't have, but will tell everyone you did. Turquoise and sterling silver woven necklace, price, $59.90 from HSN. Older women can pull off an assertive necklace, and this colour looks lovely with grey hair.
When I see an 80-year-old women on the street, I notice that she often wears a dated watch.
The DKNY white patent leather strap model, price, $85 from Dillard's or other stockists, is classic enough to be familiar, but of the moment.
A Gayle Bentley cotton sateen stretch jacket in khaki with white trim will doll up (as my mother would say) any bottom; price, $178 from Neiman Marcus. The cut is ample enough for an 80+ but the ruffled edges and cuffs say "still got it".
My forthright, glamourous godmother was 91 the last time I visited; on her left hand, she wore an exquisite jade ring. I recall the play of green against her pink cashmere cardigan.
This jade ring set in 14k might be a splurge, but you'll see the point: just because she was past 90, beauty was not solely in the past. Price, $2,000 from Gump's.
Foxcroft's wrinkle-free shirt comes in a wide range of colours, (shown, pink punch) in sizes up to 18. Classic styling in delicious shades, plus low maintenance make this a winning gift. $42.95 from Appleseeds or department stores.
Whether traveling or not, Mum will approve of Tilley's TilleySilk Women's Cittá Pants, made from a Japanese microfiber that feels and drapes like silk, yet is washable. Hang to dry, wrinkles fall out.
Elasticized at back waist, with two exterior and one inner security pockets. In navy, black and teal, size range from XS to 3XL. Price, $135; coordinating pieces also available.
My mother had at least twenty handbags, none more recent than ca. 1990. But all perfectly good! You know how they think.
I might give this leather, suede and fabric DKNY Urban Fusion Small Crossbody, 11"x 10", on sale at Zappos for $111.20.
And I'll take one too. One way or another, we are all our mother's daughters.