How a Mother’s Day tradition blossomed

Guest contributor M.J. Hansen looks back at the beautiful gift her sons gave her each year

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This 1999 photo shows the earliest breakfast in bed offering Michael (left), 7, and Daniel (right), 10, made for their mother M.J. Hansen. The tradition carried on for many years after this first occasion.
Special to On the Minds of Moms

Among my fondest memories as a mother is the tradition of “Breakfast in Bed” on Mother’s Day delivered by my two children and spouse, something I’d always hoped for.

I believe the idea was planted when I was a young girl around first grade, and I decided to surprise my mother by making her breakfast. I coyly asked her one morning how long she cooked the boiled eggs, and my memory is that she said two minutes.

I woke up early, put 2 eggs in a small pan of water, timed them for two minutes and made toast. My recollection is bringing her breakfast and her delightful expression of surprise by my gesture. She cracked an egg and it spread thinly over the whole plate. She asked me how long they were cooked. I replied, “Two minutes.” She gently said, “Well, you have to wait for the water to boil before you start timing it to give the eggs a chance to cook.” She ate only the toast and lovingly thanked me for my efforts. I felt 10 feet tall.

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Years ago, M.J. Hansen gave her mother a card with this photo on it to remind her of when M.J. made breakfast in bed for her.
Photo by Dennis Mosner for

Fast forward to 1988 and I was now a mom to my son Daniel. Sometime after his brother Michael was born, I had shared with my husband that it was my secret desire to be served breakfast in bed for a future Mother’s Day.

I can’t recall the exact year it started, but I do remember I would play possum to appear like I was still sleeping. Noises and smells would be drifting into the bedroom from the kitchen, and I would eagerly await the boys and their dad to arrive with the breakfast.


The boys’ eyes were always beaming, as if their excitement matched mine while they presented the breakfast, Mother’s Day cards and homemade gifts from school that had been tucked away from my view. I, of course, would ooh and ahh over the food, cards and gifts. The boys always appeared so proud of their efforts. I would feel so loved and it soon became my most favorite holiday of the year.
As the boys reached junior high, I found myself searching for ways to extend the day as long as I could. I would tease and say, “Remember, it’s not Mother’s Day moment, it’s Mother’s Dayyyyyyyyyy.”

Sometimes we went to a movie together or participated in other activities like shopping at the garden store to buy spring flowers to plant, out for a fancy coffee, and one year even made special dinner plates at Clay Your Way.

I asked Daniel, who is now 33, what he remembers from Mother’s Days of past, and he said, “Dad always would help us carry the tray up the stairs so we didn’t spill the juice. He’d set the tray on the floor in front of your closed bedroom door, so we could pick it up and carry it into you. Eventually we got old enough to do all of it ourselves.”

Michael, who is now 30, shared, “I remember Dad waking us up and helping organize everything. We’d try to be quiet because we wanted to surprise you. I remember singing ‘Happy Mother’s Day to you’ when we walked in with the tray of food.”

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This 2016 photo shows M.J. Hansen with her then-27-year-old son Daniel and then-24-year-old son Michael while they were shoe shopping as a way to commemorate Mother's Day that year.
Special to On the Minds of Moms

Each year, I couldn’t help but wonder… was this the year the breakfast in bed tradition would end? After all, even having had one in those early years was never a guarantee they would continue. But, they did. Even a few after the boys hit college.

Eventually, the boys’ lives became busy and opportunities to gather for Mother’s Day became challenging. Daniel moved away, and Michael had many commitments.

I decided to incentivize them by offering to treat them to new shoes for the upcoming Mother’s Day. We decided to meet in St. Cloud, have lunch and shop for shoes. It was a great time, and I enjoyed it even more as they modeled their new footwear, expressed appreciation for the day and hoped we’d do it again soon.

Mother’s Day will always hold so many wonderful memories for us. I am aware that it didn’t just magically happen. I needed to express my wish, my husband nurtured it and the boys embraced it. Thank you, David, Daniel and Michael. My mom heart has overflowed.


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