I started a tradition in my house many years ago that I would use Mother’s Day to spoil my kids. I wouldn’t have to be the “mean mom” on one day a year. I set out to do fun things for my kids on Mother’s Day. This had a two-fold reason.
The first was that I would often find myself feeling disappointed with the way Mother’s Day kind of turned out. I didn’t really want presents or anything, what I wanted was an accumulation of respect for what I did as a mom, all rolled into that one day. I wanted the house to be cleaned, food prepared, and all with smiles on their faces. Of course with 8 kids in under 12 years, that simply wasn’t realistic. I will admit it would have been nice to receive flowers and lavish gifts. But in my heart of hearts, I know that isn’t how people show their appreciation. And to be quite honest with you, I felt loved all the time. I felt like my children honored me every day of the year.
The second reason was that when I would get gifts from the kids and from Steve, they were really kind of … not great gifts. Steve would sometimes take the kids to Dollar General so they could pick out some items for me like cheap perfume, figurines, etc. Now I know I sound like I’m complaining..I’m not really. I loved the “idea” that the kids were choosing gifts for me. It was just that I didn’t really want any of the things they gave me.
One year, I was given flowers, by Steve. Here’s a sample picture of what the flowers looked like.
How do you graciously accept flowers that you know are meant to be put at a cemetery? I smiled, and said, “thank you.” Then promptly called everyone I know and turned it into a very funny story. If I was going to be given a gravestone marker as my Mother’s Day flowers, I was going to milk it for all it was worth!
Steve strategically placed the flowers in the front yard very close to the street so that all the world could see that a “MOM” is at the house. Of course they wouldn’t know if the mom was dead or alive. But they would know that “MOM” is at the house.
As soon as he finished placing the flowers, I pulled out my “I’m blessing my kids today” thoughts. I liked to take them out for dinner. They thought they were taking me out for dinner. But I’ll tell you a little secret, if they were taking me out for dinner, I would not have chosen the McDonald’s Play Place. I even let them get Happy Meals and then I would take them for some kind of special dessert.
The gifts I really liked were the ones the kids would make themselves. They would make little clay pieces, drawings, or paintings. I didn’t really need flowers, because I had gifts from their hearts.
One of the neatest things the kids would do though is that they would make a banner for me. We had rolls of roll end paper from a newspaper office. Ashley would always direct the making of the banner. Each child would decorate a portion of their banner with their “signature.” I could always tell who decorated which portion and it wasn’t just because of their name being on it, but because they would take what was inside them, and transfer it onto a banner for me. Ashley would write Happy Mother’s Day in big letters, then “make” the rest of the kids add something. Tina would draw beautiful pictures of horses. Cathy would decorate the paper as if it were a party. David would write his name. John would write my name all over the paper. My name was “Mom.” Briana would do her hand prints. Erica smiled all over the paper. And Bryan would step on it. There was always a little footprint somewhere. I loved those banners.
This year I was away visiting with my mom and my sister on a trip to Vegas. In the airport while waiting for my flight I happened into the Brighton store. I spied a lovely ring and earrings that would go great with a lot of outfits that I wear. So I purchased them. When I got home and all the kids were gathered around me as I shared all the stories of my trip, I said to them, “Oh, do you want to see the Mother’s Day gift I bought for you to give me?” In unison they said, “YES!” I showed them the ring and the earrings. I handed them the gift bag and the tissue.
Briana said, “We have to wrap it?” (I may have set the standard too low in those early years.)
I took the present and said, “No, that’s just a formality we can dispense with this year.”
John took the gift bag, tissue, and gifts and said, “YES! We must wrap it.”
Then at 12:01 am John entered my room with a huge smile on his face and said, “Happy Mother’s Day” as he triumphantly handed me the gift bag. I opened it without any fanfare, just John and I sharing a mom and son moment. Inside the bag was not only the gifts I had bought myself but also a gift from John from his heart, a pottery vase he had made in art class. The art work he would create for me when he was very small, all seemed to combine into this one beautiful vase that he had made for me.
I love my kids..and to me…that’s really what Mother’s Day is all about. So today, I drove 30 minutes to the Krispy Kreme donut store so they could have donuts this morning before they went to church.
Happy Mother’s Day to me! and to my kids!