Misunderstanding Mother’s Day

It wasn’t until I became a mom that I realized I had completely misunderstood mother’s day.  I had always seen it throught the eyes of hallmark and floral shops, as a day to make mom feel special, spoiled and adored.  The frustrating part was, though, that no amount of Hallmark or roses would suffice.  I bickered with my mom regularly growing up, but I was wise enough to realize my life existed because of her willingess to sacrifice for me.  No trinket or homemade card would ever be able to compare to that.

I assumed that despite my inadequate gift giving, it was an awesome day to be a mom- and that someday I would revel in the excitement of adding a new holiday to my calendar.

The first year I was celebrated I loved it, because my son was just a baby, and so far parenting had been all sacrifice and very little reward. The second year I felt totally akward, since I had absolutley no clue how to navigate the terrible two tantrums. I thought maybe the gifts should be returned since I was clearly not cut out for parenting. For the last five years though, I have really just wanted to go for a walk and cook dinner…which is sort of what we do every other day.

This year, my mom wanted to visit and of course I was excited. I was also immediately stressed out because I had a busy week, and a small budget, and I knew whatever gift I came up with wouldn’t compare to her greatness.  But than I realized something about her that I already knew was true for myself…

I realized that once you become a mom, Mother’s Day is a day to celebrate the fact that you have children. It’s to rejoice that you have been trusted with the responsibility of raising the next generation. It’s for remembering, that despite your complete lack of ablility and qualifications, God thought you fit to care for these specific beautiful people in your house.

There is often drudgery in the sacrifice-  sleepless nights, poop, laundry, stress, barf in your hair, etc.- and its nice that Hallmark has made a booming industry out of thanking moms for that. The part that the cards leave out though is the defeat. I mess up parenting everyday. I set a poor example by losing my temper, forgetting things that are important, or not listnening when I should.  Nothing will reveal your personality flaws or push your patience more than parenting. And absolutely  nothing is worse than watching your kids absorb one of your bad habits. There is no “Dear mom! Im so glad you taught me the s-word” in the card aisle.

What I really want to celebrate is that despite my worst shortcomings, my kids love me anyways.  I want a holiday to adore them for sharing forgiveness with me like halloween candy. The true gift given is that I’m not entitled to their trust, but they will still barrel down the scariest of slides if I hold them in my lap. The real honor is to look at each one of them, wonder at how unique they are, and realize how much they’ve grown- inside and out.

The best Mother’s Day gift is a day to marvel at the magnificence of being a mother, which is something you could never give your mom through chocolates or flowers (Although she will cherish them, because they’re from you). The best gifts you already give her naturally, by loving her, forgiving her, and trusting her, every single day.

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