Yesterday, my boys asked if they could spend the night with their uncle. My first reaction was to say “Absolutely not! Tomorrow is Mothers Day! How dare you even THINK about not being here with me on Mother’s Day!” However, not wanting to be the overbearing mother who guilts her children into doing things that would make her happy, I said “yes, of course you may spend the night with your uncle.” I was secretly hoping they had simply forgotten that it was Mother’s Day and once they realized it, they would come to their senses and tell their uncle “Maybe next week. We can’t leave our Mom on Mother’s Day!”
That never happened. They packed their bags and my brother picked them up at 11am.
“Have fun!” I said as I kissed them goodbye. I smiled and waved as I watched them drive away. The smile was a big, fat lie. My feelings were hurt. But, again, maybe they forgot! And I couldn’t possibly hold it against them, especially since I chose not to remind them.
I tried to keep pretending that they simply forget it was Mother’s Day, but curiosity got the best of me. Fifteen minutes into their 30 minute ride to my brother’s house, I called The Teenager’s cell phone.
“Hey… did you forget what tomorrow is?”
“No, Mom. I didn’t forget. It’s Mothers Day!”
“You knew it was Mother’s Day? And chose to spend the night with your uncle anyway? I won’t have my boys here on Mother’s Day? That hurts, Son.”
(So much for not wanting to put guilt trips on my children!)
“Mom… We will be with you in spirit.” The Teenager said in that smart-assed Teenage Tone.
“But I can’t hug your spirit”. I shot back.
He laughed and told me not to worry– they had plans to take me to my favorite restaurant as soon as they came home from church. At that moment, I decided it was time to put the guilt trip to rest and make the best of the situation. “Well, that’s nice. ” I said “I’ll miss you guys.”
I woke up feeling sad that they weren’t here. It’s the first Mothers Day without my boys here and as much as I love LOVE LOVE my daughter, it wasn’t the same without them. I know I’m being Overly Dramatic about it, but I feel that The Dramatics are totally justified in this situation. I got a taste of what it will be like when my children are adults out on their own (and one of my children will be an adult in LESS THAN 3 YEARS) and I don’t like it.
I remember when they would wake up at 5am from excitement of Mothers Day. They would jump into my bed, hug me and kiss me all over while saying “Happy Mothers Day! We got you a present! Dad? Can we give Mom her present?” I’ve always understood that my children won’t be here with me forever– that they’ll grow up, move out, establish (hopefully wonderful) lives of their own. But, to experience my first Mothers Day without them was almost more than my prematurely beating heart could bear. I hated not having them jump in my bed this morning. I hated not being able to hold them close to me and tell them how lucky I felt to be their Mom. But mostly, I hated that I had to feel just a tinge of the emptiness I’m surely to feel when they’re out on their own. Would they forget to call? Would they be too busy “SPENDING THE NIGHT AT THEIR UNCLES” to visit me? And just as I had worked myself into a “My children don’t love me and aren’t ever going to visit me when they are out on their own” sob-fest, the phone rang. It was The Teenager.
“Happy Mothers Day, Mom. I love you.”
“I love you, too, Andrew. And I miss you.”
“I miss you too, Mom. I’ll see you when I get home from church. Here.. Ethan wants to talk to you.”
“Hi, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day.”
“Thank you, Son. I miss you!”
“I miss you too.”
And then he said something I never expected.
“Mom… if you to your computer, open up Word and click on file, you’ll see a document titled “The Perfect Mother.” Open it. I wrote that for you before I left.”
Those words literally took my breath away. My son had thought of me and had left me something so that I knew how much he loved me, even if he wasn’t here with me to tell me in person.
“I’ll go open it right now.” I said, fighting back the Tears of Joy. “Thank you, Son. Thank you so much for thinking of me.”
I hung up the phone and ran to the computer. I opened up Word just as he had instructed me to do and then I saw it. The document titles “The Perfect Mother.” I opened it and this is what I found.
The Perfect Mother
To: the greatest mother
You are so great,
You are very helpful,
You love me dearly,
And you make life joyful.
You encourage me,
You make me happy,
You are very thoughtful,
You make me feel like laughing.
You work so hard,
You work for me,
You’re a hard worker,
And you work for the family.
You drive everywhere,
You drive me to school,
You drive to the store,
But not in a pool!
You can be strict,
But that’s okay,
You are never mean,
And you are always ready to say, “I love you son!”
I love you mom, Happy Mothers Day!!!
The sadness that I felt was gone the instant that I read that, because in that moment I understood something wonderful. The love that I have for my children is great. The time that I’ve spent with them means something to them. They know that I love them with every fiber of my being and I need not worry or fret about how it will be when they grow up and move out on their own. They will not forget all of the years that I’ve cared for them and taken care of them. They will remember and will carry it with them no matter where they go. And even if they’re not physically here to tell me jump into my bed and smother me with hugs and kisses, they WILL be here in spirit, just as The Teenager said.
Knowing that I’ve had a positive impact on their life–knowing that they see my imperfections, but don’t hold them against me because they recognize that everything I do for them comes from a place of love, that right there is enough to fill any void I may ever feel when they’re physically not here with me.
That simple poem really helped put things into perspective for me. I will forever be grateful to my Son for taking the time to write it. What I thought was surely to be the Worst Mothers Day ever has turned out to be one of the best I’ve ever had.
(Breakfast courtesy of PigHunter, who totally shocked me by making a breakfast that looked as wonderful as it tasted. Who knew PigHunter could be so creative?)