She gave birth to you. She diapered you. She made you think a spoonful of strained peas was a twin-engine Cessna flying past your pursed lips.
After all Mom's done, how are you going to return the favor on Mother's Day? Following are a few alternatives to the ol' flowers and candy . . .
It's All About Mom -- The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo's kangaroos, toads, monkeys, bonteboks (think "antelopes"), and sloths have been breeding like rabbits lately, and today, mothers get in free for a celebration of the new mamas and their offspring. "It's a family day, with a focus on Mom," says the zoo's Bek Mitchell-Kidd. "We want to introduce her to all the animals and give her a different perspective on family." Mothers also get a free carnation, a massage, and fitness tips in the zoo's picnic pavilion. (3900 Wildlife Way, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; call 216-651-6500.)
Dressing for Two -- Join Mom in reliving the horrors of maternity fashion and childbirth at the Western Reserve Historical Society's exhibit on maternity practices throughout history. Among the more unique artifacts on display: a glass breast pump. The exhibit is free for the day. (10825 East Boulevard, noon to 5 p.m.; call 216-721-5722.)
Mom, I'd Like You to Meet Sharon -- If Mom can scale rock mountains, she can tackle the two-mile Mother's Day Walk along the Sharon Conglomerate sandstone ledges of Ansel's Cave in the West Woods Nature Center. Steeped in legend and lore, Ansel's Cave was a campsite for Civil War soldiers, a hideaway for slaves on the Underground Railroad, and a refuge for bootleggers during Prohibition. Today, it's also the perfect place to show your gratitude while getting back to nature. (9465 Kinsman Road in Russell and Newbury Townships, 2 p.m.; call 440-286-9516.)
Treat Mom to Golf -- The Cleveland Metroparks are giving free access to golfing moms at each of their six courses today. The catch? Mom must be accompanied by at least one person willing to pony up the greens fee. (1 p.m. to dusk. Call 440-232-7247 for course locations.)
Mother's Day Tour -- Mom gets chauffeured, in a luxurious golf cart, on a leisurely ride through the Summit County Metro Parks' F.A. Seiberling Naturealm to see the spring flowers in bloom. The first 500 mothers also receive carnations. (1828 Smith Road in Akron, noon to 4 p.m.; call 330-865-8065.)
Mother's Day Tea -- It's more than just a pinky-in-the-air tea party: It's a trolley tour of three historic, sacred Cleveland landmarks. The trip begins at the 164-year-old Sarah Benedict House (home of the Cleveland Restoration Society), with stops at Trinity Cathedral, the East Mount Zion Baptist Church, and Euclid Avenue Congregational Church. The tour winds back to the Benedict House for the tea party. (3751 Prospect Avenue, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m., $20 to $30; call 216-426-1000.)