As Mother's Day approaches, I can't help but think back to all the interesting gifts I've received from my three sons throughout the years. I fondly recall getting a bean plant in a Dixie cup. One fragile, hopeful stalk, reinforced/ suffocated by Scotch tape. A couple years later, I got a Dixie cup full of dirt. I loved that dirt.
Another year one son surprised me with a beautiful type-written poem. It began, When I saw you across the room and our eyes first met, I knew it was love at first sight... Turns out the poem wasn't actually a poem. It wasn't beautiful, either. The X-rated second line began, Or maybe it was pure lust? And that's when I knew I wanted you to.... We had a brief talk about internet safety and then went to brunch.
Mothers worldwide dream of receiving painted rocks, handmade cards, extension cords (boys, I especially loved the green 8-footer, so thoughtful), and pots of marigolds along with breakfast-in-bed. Those years fly by. So bring on the macaroni, glitter and glue projects. We cherish them.
Eventually our children get older and we receive books, tickets to the symphony, or a lovely scarf. All nice gifts, but nothing quite compares to an overflowing cup of dirt that's been watered too much, carried with both hands over the white carpet, down the hallway to our bedroom at 5:30 am. We honestly don't care if that marigold ever sprouts. We just like watching our kids enjoy a moment of giving.
And nothing beats a handwritten card that moms can save to read at a college graduation or rehearsal dinner years later. This is one of my treasures:
Yet for some moms, Mother's Day is tough, even painful. We look around, but don't always know who is suffering. Often our faces are well-practiced at hiding the pain. But there are too many wonderful women in the world who won't get marigolds on Sunday.
Some wanted to be moms but were unable.
Some are estranged from their children and live with regret.
Military moms sacrifice daily for our safety while they pray for their kids serving our country.
Some are in hospitals, comforting their sick children, content to get a smile, a nod, or another day together.
Some mothers will feel sharper pains of grief on Sunday for the children they have to prematurely mourn.
As a mom, I'm only as happy as my most unhappy child. No matter the age of my kids, when they hurt, I hurt right along with them. So although Mother's Day is a joyous occasion for so many, I want to remember and comfort the women who ache for babies who were never born, or have children who are sick, hurt, lost, addicted, missing, in pain, struggling, or have passed on. As a woman, their pain is my pain.
For those of us blessed to celebrate this Mother's Day, let's be generous with our smiles, hugs, phone calls, and even our marigolds. It's the little things that make such a big difference.