When your children are small, they usually come home from school with a handmade card or special poem for Mother’s Day. I still have the card my daughter brought home in her first year at school with her tiny hand prints all over it. It said
“Sometimes you get discouraged
Because I am so small
And always leave my fingerprint
On furniture and walls.
But every day I’m growing up
And soon I’ll be so tall
That all those little hand prints
Will be hard to recall
So here’s the special hand prints
Just so that you can say
This is how my fingers looked
When I placed them here today.”
But my favorite part of the card was her own carefully written words “You ar allwase there for me. You ar the best mom ever. I love you so much.” Every time I pull out that card, I have a little lump in my throat.
As moms we have so many memories like this to treasure. Sometimes it’s hard to appreciate them at the time because we are so exhausted by parenting and all it entails. It’s often only years later that we look back and realize the importance of those special moments.
I made a memory book for each of my children, from the time of the first baby scan to the time they left school. It contained locks of hair, birthday cards, photos, concert programs and certificates. Little did I know at the time that these books would remain with me and that I am the one who browses through them, recalling how my daughter wanted to be a ballet dancer and my son used to call a guitar a ‘maulie, maulie’ and a helicopter a ‘horteetaw’.
As my children grew up, Mother’s Day was still a special day, even if the thoughtful little gifts were sometimes bought by dad and then signed by the kids. I would hear crashing and banging in the kitchen as they all worked together to make me breakfast. It was usually brought to me in bed, sometimes with a flower on the tray. I would sigh a bit as I cleaned up the mess in the kitchen after having relinquished control for a day but I felt enormously blessed and surrounded by love.
Mother’s Day in my empty nest is still somewhat of a new experience for me. My children are not that far afield and they are not married yet, so I still see them on Mother’s Day. I have already told my children that they don’t need to buy me gifts – the time they spend with me is worth so much more to me now than any gift. I won’t wake up tomorrow to breakfast in bed but I am so grateful that I will have both my children with me for lunch as well as my mother, my nephew and my daughter’s boyfriend. I know I will have a special day and relish the family time together.
However, I know that some time in the not too distant future I may have to face the fact that I will not see my children on Mother’s Day. They may be living far away from me and they will have their own families and their own traditions. I think that once your children are grown and have families of their own, you have to grab a mother’s day whenever you can. I am already telling myself that I must enjoy every second of the time I am able to spend with them whenever it occurs.
Amidst the commercialism of Mother’s Day and the bombardment of advertisements, children may feel that they have to buy their mothers expensive gifts. Speaking for myself and many other mothers, I know that the gift of time is often the most precious one a mother of adult children can receive.