I can’t think of a better piece to share in May than a wonderful story about mothers and daughters. I mean most of us have learned by now that there are many complexities to the relationship, especially this relationship.

This is the advice I give myself, and I’m happy to share it with you: Just thinking outside of our own little box is the best gift for the big day.

You see, not too long ago, at SIFF, I sat next to a woman I have seen around town for years; a woman I’ve taken special note of because she reminds me of my mother. Which can elicit a feeling of undivided love and appreciation or something more equivalent to road rage, depending on the last conversation we had, or tried to.

While waiting for the film to begin, I go over and over in my head why this woman is so similar to my mom even though she has dyed red hair instead of dyed black and she wears an overabundance of silver jewelry rather than the gold my mother prefers.

Manner: the perfect word for why she and my mother resemble each other. Let’s just say that if they shopped together, they’d be drawn to the same bric-a-brac.

Or if they were to chat about the neighborhood, family, religion or politics — though they’d likely skip religion and politics —they’d agree about most things, or politely pretend to.

They are mothers from the same era. And even if they have no more in common than having married and procreated in the same era, they have lived through much of what life has to offer, good and bad, which becomes its own loyalty in the same way veterans bond over a shared war.

And if this month weren’t about a gift for mom, which it is, I would be satisfied with a quick scan of how I feel about the woman sitting next to me. Then I’d lean back to enjoy the trailers. But tonight I’m looking at her from the inside out, where the perspective is always more about listening than seeing. And if I listen carefully, it’s not hard to hear why this woman has chosen a seat next to me.

Oh, God. I knew it. What was I thinking?

You see, just the other day I bought my mother’s gift, the most exquisite silk blouse that will fall over her... rather ample body and bosom in the most elegant way. But one glance at the woman beside me reminds how utterly inappropriate the gift is for my mother. The blouse is appropriate for, you guessed it, me. What my mother would enjoy receiving is a shirt similar to the one the woman beside me proudly wears: a sweatshirt with a collar and the words “World’s Greatest Grandmother” held up cheerfully by Mickey Mouse.

Let’s back up. I need to back up here and say I have been trying (and failing) to “remake” my mother most of my life.

And so if, at first, I didn’t understand why this woman sat beside me, I realize now that I know exactly why. To remind me to return the blouse. Tomorrow. First thing.

Because there is a real message here even for the most irreverent: Gift giving is about the person on the receiving end.

After the movie I will google Disney Store. Because of all the people I need to buy for, mom is the one I most want to please.

Which this year I fully intend to do.

Mary Lou Sanelli, author and speaker, has published seven collections of poetry and three works of nonfiction. Her forthcoming novel,”The Star Struck Dance Studio (of Yucca Springs),” will be published in September (Chatwin Books). For more information about her and her work, visit www.marylousanelli.com.