When you're a kid, finding the perfect Mother's Day gift can seem like a monumental task.

Fortunately for me, my mother liked owls. When her birthday, Christmas or Mother's Day rolled around, I'd set off on a search for all things owl.

Over the years, she ended up with more than her share of owl artwork, jewelry and figurines.

Looking back on it, she probably didn't want or need such an array of owlish knickknacks. But as a mom, she made it easier on me and my sister by giving us ideas. It worked, including one Christmas when she ended up with a sterling silver owl for her charm bracelet an owl wearing a mortarboard designed to be a graduation gift. (Yes, she still added it to her bracelet.)

The hunt for owls ended about the time I reached adolescence, thankfully.

And as the years go by, it has become easier to come up with gift ideas. For me, that doesn't always mean buying a gift-wrapped item.

Not that I'm opposed to children heading to the store for something special. Our local merchants offer an abundance of ways to please any mom, from jewelry and clothes to a nice brunch or dinner out, or the ever popular flower bouquet or special greeting card something to fit most any budget.

In a slow economy, retailers no doubt have enjoyed the surge in spending brought by Mother's Day, traditionally the second biggest consumer spending day behind Christmas.

This year, the National Retail Federation predicted $14.6 billion in Mother's Day spending.

The NRF also expected the amount spent per consumer to rise over last year, with people shelling out an average of $126.90 this year, compared to $123.89 in 2009.

Still, many youngsters won't need to break open their piggy banks. Some will create priceless, handmade gifts for their mothers to cherish for years to come.

Then there are those of us who try another approach.

For me and my mother, the distance between us has dictated that we be creative when it comes to celebrating special days.

We're separated by several hundred miles, so it's a treat when we can get together for any reason.

This weekend, she's in Garden City for a visit. And she has a simple request for Mother's Day.

She wants to go fishing.

So, weather permitting, we'll pack up the gear and head to Lake Scott State Park.

The two of us will enjoy a stress-free Mother's Day, catching up and hoping to land a fish or two. (My husband won't be left out, of course. Who else would untangle all of our snarled lines?)

Honestly, the outing will turn out to be a gift for both my mother and me.

Finding the right way to honor your mother for all she's done doesn't have to be difficult.

Most mothers wouldn't want it that way.

Many moms, especially those separated from their children by long distances, would say the best gift is time spent together. For those who simply cannot arrange such a visit, a phone call is the next best thing.

She just wants to know you care.

Remember, little things mean a lot. Something as simple as spending an afternoon at the lake can go a long way.

Happy Mother's Day.

E-mail Editor-publisher Dena Sattler at denas@ gctelegram.com.