This year for Mother's Day I am going to get myself a gift.
No, not one of those "my husband is too lame, and my kids are too oblivious so I need to buy myself the perfume I have been asking for" kinds of gifts.
And not the "I am going to buy something totally extravagant that I really can't afford and then justify it by calling it a Mother's Day Gift, and since no one dare dispute how deserving I am of a good Mother's Day gift- I will be able to get away with this frivolous purchase" type of present.
I am going to give myself the gift that only I can give.
This Mother's Day I am going to focus on giving myself a gift that I need more than perfume, flowers, or chocolate.
When I sit in church on Sunday and hear the speakers tell stories of their own saintlike mothers I will give myself a small but important gift: the precious gift of not comparing myself to anyone else. When their stories are accessorized with acts of motherhood grandeur I will not doubt myself. I will not hear the stories of a mom who gave her last crust of bread to her child to prevent starvation and then feel guilty about stuffing the rest of my Snickers bar in my mouth before Macie could ask for another bite. I will simply not compare. When I hear the stories of the mom who worked 3 jobs but somehow made it to every soccer game I will not feel guilty about the time I forgot to take Riley to preschool simply because I didn't realize it was Monday. I will not compare. When I hear about the sweet mild mother who never rose her voice above a whisper I will not feel guilty that my kids have a "passionate" mother whose voice reflects her excitement in life. (and frustration as well) I will not compare.
When I go to hand Macie a cup of milk and she screams that she wants Daddy to give her the cup- I won't be sad. (She has started grumpily saying "Marry Mommy!" which actually means "I am not going to marry you" - she picked this up from Blake who uses that phrase as the absolute insult when he is mad at you.) I will give myself the gift of knowing. Knowing that someday in the future she will come to me. I will know that if she ever grows real hair she will want me to braid it. I will know that someday she will like a boy, and her Dad will have no idea- but I will know. I will see it in her eyes when he invites her to his birthday party and I will help her pick out the perfect gift and outfit for the party. She will want me then. I will not be jealous or question my abilities as a mother simply because they love their Daddy. In fact, I will be happy that I chose a guy that could be my children's hero.
When I hear my kids argue- even though I have asked for the ever elusive, infinitely unattainable gift that all mothers yearn for ("A Day with NO Fighting") - I will just smile. I will forget for a moment how annoying the sound of whining is and remember that some homes never get to have the sweet sound of children. I will remember that somewhere there is a "Mom" who never got to hold a child of her own, a woman who would give anything for bickering in her home, or any other trial that comes with children. I will feel blessed and grateful. And if I am being thoughtful (which I hope I will) I will even say a little prayer of comfort for her- because Mother's Day must be hard for the women who want to be mothers and aren't.
And when I get dressed for Church on Mother's Day and I can't find a thing to wear, and I mindlessly grab that favorite dress that looked good on me years ago- before 3 babies- I will laugh instead of cry. I will give myself forgiveness and acceptance for not having my 25 year old body anymore. This may be the hardest one of all. To accept the body that has changed after carrying and nursing three babies. To accept that it may never be the same. No matter how hard I work out, how many crunches, lunges, and push ups I do- I may always look like I have had 3 children. Because I do have 3 children. For one day I will be OK with that. I will embrace and love my squishy, soft body as a place for my kids to snuggle. (And hopefully if I can do that for one day, I can do it for two, and then three and maybe it will become permanent... for now let's just aim for getting through one Sunday :)
These are not Mother's Day Gifts that anyone else can give me. And for as much I love the glittery cards, beautiful photo books (did I ever tell you about the time JT stayed at the office till 2a.m and I was paranoid that he was having an affair because who does real estate at 2a.m? but it turned out he was just making me a Mother's Day Photo Book? yep, that was a good one), the Breakfast in Bed, the perfume, the Personal Trainer at the gym, the flowers, the cameras, or every other gift I have gotten over the years- this year- I just need a gift from myself.
Accepting myself and believing that I am the good mother that JT tells me I am. (I just realized after all this time that I am suppose to put periods in J.T.'s name! oops, all these years! oh well, too late now) Accepting that motherhood is hard, but absolutely wonderful. Accepting my mistakes along with my successes. And I suppose, if I have to- it means accepting more gifts from my sweet hubbie. (that was so JT doesn't think he is completely off the hook!)
Here they are- my pride and joy, the reason I get to celebrate Mother's Day, my kids: