I love Mother’s Day.
It’s such a wonderful holiday that celebrates the worth, the love and the gift of motherhood. I celebrated Mother’s Day for many years from the position of a child. I can remember creating gifts for my mom at school or even getting money from our dad to go buy mom a gift. I remember signing cards and yelling, “HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY” early Sunday morning. I can remember the red and white floral corsages the ladies at church used to wear on Mother’s Day; red symbolizing your mother was living and white to signify she was deceased. I can remember some women weeping at the memory of their deceased moms.
I remember the beautiful hats, dresses and suits.
I remember the restaurants packed with families.
I remember when my grandmothers were alive and my parents would call them to wish them a happy Mother’s Day.
I remember how the older I got, the more I appreciated that fact that my mother was still living. I remember the laughter in her voice every year when I give her my dramatic rendition of Pastor Shirley Caesar’s Mother’s Day classic, “No Charge”.
But what does Mother’s Day feel like to a mom?
For so many years, I couldn’t answer that because I just didn’t know. I assumed she loved all of the attention, breakfast in bed attempts, handmade gifts and store bought ones. I assumed she loved being taken out to eat and made belle for a day.
That was my assumption until I became a mom.
I’d like to share with you what Mother’s Day feels like for me, and I’m sure many other moms out there.
The moments I remember most are those that I shared with my children individually and alone. I remember the first time I held Matthew in my arms.
I remember just a few short moments after he entered the world, how his eyes focused on me, as if he knew me. I remember looking at him amazed at how a child just born could know me. He knew my voice. I remember coming home with him from the hospital, high on pain killers and in tremendous pain from child birth. I remember forgetting how to make the perfect swaddle as the nurses had shown me so I improvised. I laid him on my chest and wrapped him in my bathrobe. I can remember how calm he became and it didn’t matter how long I had to hold him. I was amazed by the fact that all he needed was me to be calm and peaceful again.
I remember when Caitlyn was born.
The day afterwards, the staff came in to take her for her routine hearing exam and all the other various newborn things they do.
The staff member who took her gave me an estimate of the time she’d bring Caitlyn back to my room.
She was late.
I can remember the slight rush of adrenaline I felt as the clock ticked the minutes by but my baby still wasn’t returned to me. I was scared. I wanted to cry. I missed her so very much. I wanted her back in my arms immediately. And then I marveled at the fact that my heart was bursting with love for a child I’d only held in my arms for less than 24 hours. When she was finally brought back to me, I held her in my arms and placed her beside me in my bed. We shared that little narrow hospital bed until we were discharged. When asked if I wanted to send her to the nursery so tha I could rest, I was almost indignant with my “NO”. I was her mama now and I was reporting for duty…for the rest of my life.
I think of the moments that they come rushing into my room early on a Saturday morning, piling into my bed and asking for pancakes.
I think of the tickle fights and how Caitlyn can’t stay out of my shoe boxes in my closet. I think of how Matthew constantly asks, “Mommy, are you alright?” and waits for his answer.
I think of how imperfect my parenting technique may be but how forgiving they are.
I think of the fun we have, just the three of us…no money spent, just each other…together.
I appreciate their attempts at bringing me gifts for Mother’s Day. The handmade gifts their teachers help them make mean so much.
But that’s not what I treasure most.
I treasure the look of relief on their faces when I tell them they can climb into bed with me during a scary thunderstorm. I treasure their smiles when I announce they can have the occasional treat of icecream. I treasure their hugs and “we missed you mommy” when they return from a weekend visit. I treasure the noise, laughter and sometimes the occasional crashing noises that they bring.
They bring life to my house. Without them, it’s just a house…it’s not a home.
I treasure the crayon marks on the wall and the juice stains on the carpet.
I treasure the drawings of mommy that make me look HUGE. 🙂
For this mom, Mother’s Day is everyday, in some small way. It’s that moment when you had to scold or spank…and you feel bad as a mom and they feel bad for being disobedient… but you go to them, you hug them and you both give and receive love.
Mother’s Day is when you’ve had a day from the crevices of hell and your children do something so silly you can’t even hold back the laugh. Mother’s Day is when my son tells me “You’re beautiful mommy” and wants to hold my hand.
So if you’re a child and wondering what to get your mom for Mother’s Day, struggling with the perfect gift…unable to figure out what would honor her the most…
Take it from this mom:
Anything that reminds her of the miraculous moment you entered her life…
Anything that celebrates how you’ve gone from the small, helpless wonder that she held so nervously, to an amazing teen or adult with the ability to now help others…
Anything that reminds her that no matter where you go in life and what you become, you’ll never forget that she carried you, she nourished you, and she loved you before your little eyes could even focus…
All of those would be excellent choices.
But above all, don’t forget the greatest gift you could ever give a mom on Mother’s Day:
Give her a tank full of gas, a plane ticket, a bus or plane ticket that leads you to her.
There’s no greater gift to her than YOU.
For Mother’s Day, I’ll have my greatest gifts right next to me. I’ll be the happiest woman on earth. I’ll make my own breakfast and probably theirs too. We won’t do a fancy restaurant. My gifts will probably be handmade. And that’s all ok to me- perfectly acceptable.
I hope they read this one day and know that they are my greatest gifts in life and it is my honor to be their mom. I can’t remember exactly what I was doing before they arrived, but it certainly wasn’t living.
To Matthew Andre and Caitlyn Christina…
I love you and one day, I pray that you’ll know the joy that children bring. You’ve been my greatest joy. I love you and I am proud of you, simply because you’re mine. You’ll never have to impress me. You’ll never have to earn my acceptance. You are children and I am your Mama.
That is enough.