I've had the privilege of celebrating eleven Mother's Days as a mother. Over those years I have come to learn a thing or two about that special day! There is a lovely book that I read which laid it all out so well...so well that I have changed my outlook on the whole Mother's Day...day. I hope to pass along this to my girls who will one day become mothers themselves.
Sarah Ban Breathnach writes in her book, Mrs. Sharp's Traditions
The new mother holding her first miracle enjoys the best Mother's Day. After that, Mrs. Sharp suspects for many women (although they are hard-pressed to admit it) the celebrations of Mother's Day is a slow exercise in the law of diminishing returns. Why should this be so? First, mothers are rarely remembered as they would like to be, because few of our children know us as individuals with personal preferences. Usually we are so busy nurturing and meeting everyone else's needs while the family is growing up that we fail to articulate our own wants and desires. The second reason disappointment looms is because when Mother's Day rolls around, most of us forget that we are not our husband's mother. We are hurt because our husband did not remember us. Dear Reader, the day a husband annually remembers his wife with special, loving gestures is called the "wedding anniversary". Yes, it is lovely when a husband expresses his appreciation for our efforts as a mother. However, Mrs. Sharp believes it is a far better gesture for husbands to remember their own mothers rather than expecting daughters-in-law to do it every year. Of course, in a young family Father must take on the responsibility of helping little children prepare or obtain a small gift for Mother. But Father's encouragement should be necessary only until a child is ten years old. After that, the fledgling celebrant is on his or her own. This means, in the course of any lifetime, there is bound to be the occasional dry year when someone forgets to remember Mama. Mrs. Sharp's next suggestion is for her younger women friends. Dear Reader, this year decide no matter how the day turns out, from now on you will observe Mother's Day in your own special way: by reflecting on the intangible joys that come from being a mother. Celebrate yourself. Treat yourself to a lovely token of esteem, mentally toss out the past year's accumulated burden of guilt, and start anew. Remember, it is only the first one hundred years of motherhood that are the hardest. After that, you're home free.
I am working on giving up expecting anything on this day. I have learned that when I expect something, I am ALWAYS disappointed. I've also grown to learn that my job as a mother does not have to be rewarded in one day with large gifts. Even though my job is hard and demanding, just the gift of my children should be enough. Don't get me wrong, I remember struggling those first few years of Mother's Days. Seeing friends get massages, trips away on their own, elaborate gifts made me wish for more. But now as I get older, I can honestly say that is not my desire.
I love how Sarah Ban Breathnach wrote that we are not our husbands mother. SO TRUE!!! I was so pleased with TJ taking his mom out for a lunch date Sunday afternoon. What a good example he is setting for our children. He also assisted with the making of my brunch that I found when I returned home from my run! Thomas and Annie were so excited to give me my breakfast and that made me happy.
I read somewhere once to try and serve my husband and children MORE on Mother's Day than on any other day of the year. And even though that's what I do every single day, I found myself getting trapped in the idea of ME, ME, ME. I DESERVE....(fill in the blank). Once I remembered that I don't deserve anything really, that everything I have been given has been given to me as a gift from God, and that I am not TJ's mother...it was only then that I really began to find happiness on Mother's Day.
I felt such gratitude and happiness on Sunday morning. I decided that I would go for a long run early in the morning. Then came home to a delicious breakfast outside. We sat and watched the kids playing and my heart was full. Thank you TJ for helping the kids to make a special morning for me!
This could have been my real Mother's Day gift....a quiet Monday morning, sitting at the computer working on turning my blog into a book, smelling the beautiful peonies I got from my mom, and sipping delicious coffee!
As I was walking to the pond Monday with George, Evie and Pete, I was thinking about myself as a mother. I feel very confident that I am giving our children the best that I can, but none of this would be possible without TJ. He gave me the gift of motherhood (along with God, of course!) TJ and I give them the example of a loving marriage. We have given them life, siblings, a home that houses good meals, clean clothes, and creative excursions. We have given them the opportunity to grow in their catholic faith. We teach them how to pray and foster a relationship with God. We teach them right from wrong.
My hope for myself is selflessness. That I will think of others first and look for ways to serve. To show more kindness and love to my family and not just to friends and strangers. To not expect anything, but delight in everything. To be the mother that God has created me to be.