I will never forget the first true gift I got from my daughter. It was a gift that she sought out, chose and bought. Up until that point dad bought the gifts and she got to put her name in the card. Or she came home with gifts that she was required to make at school or church. That day, her gift to me was different. It was a simple, inexpensive yet lovely, necklace and earing set. I still wear it to this day, more than two decades later.
The truth is that her gift to me that day was not the jewelry, it was the thought she put into the gift. That my little girl took the time to think of me and then to follow up and find something that suited me, something that cost her time and effort and cost some of her hard-earned savings, was the true gift. I remember being stunned when I opened it. I was expecting the usual little girl gift but what I got was grown up love.
What mothers truly wait for and want is grown up love.
Here are 3 mistakes this Mother’s Day that will convey little-girl sentiments instead of mature love:
- Give your mom a list of platitudes about mothers. You know, the “mothers are kind and patient and sweet and tender and bake the best cookies” kind of list. Instead, give her a list that truly reflects her. Even if the list consists of one thing, let it be one thing that she knows is true about her.
- Buy perfunctory gifts. The kind you grab off a “mother’s day gifts” shelf and hope will do the job. These kinds of gifts are more about you than her. They say that you have done your duty. Instead, offer her joy. A well thought out note of true appreciation or, if you buy flowers, let them be the kind she actually likes. Let it be a gift that says you stopped long enough during your day to think this one through.
- Harbor resentment for past mistakes. If you expect your mom to be the perfect Brady Bunch mom, you will likely be forever stuck in little girl love and unlikely move into a mature and fulfilling relationship. Perfect mothers do not exists and us moms know that too well. We are acutely aware of our failings, our shortcomings and our inadequacies. Instead of nursing and feeding resentment this Mother’s Day, perhaps recognize that we are all broken people living in a broken world. Give your mother grace.
On this day set aside for mothers I offer a note to my fellow-moms out there. We know that with the same hand our child can give us the simplest joy and also the deepest pain. We know that when our child can still only give little-girl sentiments we will cherish it nonetheless and we will wait. We will wait for that day when grace will abound and love will mature. We will wait because love has matured in us and grace is required from us.
“Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” – Ephesians 6:2-3