On Mother’s Day this year, I woke up determined to make it the best one ever. The previous years had been met with less than expected fanfare. You see, in our household we are not big gift-givers. Neither my husband nor I were raised by parents who gave gifts, and we’ve definitely never made a big deal of commercial holidays with our own children (except the preschool initiated days where they sent the beautifully handcrafted masterpieces home!). Despite this, every year for the past sixteen years since our son was born; I secretly hoped that my family would break the “rules” and surprise me with something extravagant or even a gift. After all, Mother’s Day was ALL ABOUT ME!
Well this year, God spoke to my heart and “suggested” that I turn it around, beginning the day by thanking HIM for giving me the incredible privilege and blessing of being a mom, especially having lost two babies and being given up for adoption by my own biological mom. God was also reminding me of the practice my husband developed of calling his parents every year on his birthday, thanking them for bringing him into the world. In obedience to God and not knowing what to expect, I decided that I would thank my children for giving me one of the biggest blessings of my life, and use the day to celebrate them. Having no expectations really opens one up to surprising possibilities!
When our son Nick woke up later that morning, he came over, gave me a warm hug and wished me Happy Mother’s Day. I was very touched because at sixteen, hugging is not an enticing or exciting prospect. “Wow,” I thought, “My day was already looking up!” Then he reached across the counter to the basket where we kept our assortment of spare greeting cards and pulled out one especially for me. It said “Happy Birthday!” Inside, under the caption, “Wishing you a day wrapped in happiness,” there was a blank space. We laughed hysterically after I thanked him for remembering. It was a beautiful, authentic moment.
Well, my eleven year old daughter, after seeing this generous display of love and devotion, did not want to be left out. So she printed from her smart phone, a flyer of a cat in an apron holding a cake with candles. This caption read, “Happy Birthday (yes, again you’re reading this correctly) from me and this cat.” My genuinely enthusiastic response was, “Honey, thank you so much for remembering!” And we shared another intense belly laugh. Then she pulled out of the SAME basket, the beads I had brought home FOR HER from a mardi gras peddler a week earlier, and exclaimed, “Oh, here I got these for you too!” And we continued cackling until tears were steaming down our cheeks.
Later that morning we went to church, then to lunch at my favorite restaurant and to then dinner at another favorite restaurant. We chuckled some more and spent an incredible day as a family, something we hadn’t done in months due to our hectic weekend schedules. It was truly a fabulous day.
In Acts 20:35 it says that it is more blessed to give than to receive. And I’m sure this also refers to giving thanks! Romans 12:3 says “For by grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment…”
God taught a self-centered mom an important lesson and made Mother’s Day 2016 my best one ever.