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It’s so easy to just go through the routine. “Great, Mother’s Day is today,” my husband thinks. “Better stop by Walgreens and pick up something quick and easy.” He rushes in and out, hardly even noticing what he has grabbed. It was in the appropriate aisle, so it will do.
The kids begrudgingly get out their construction paper and markers to hand make a card. They are forced, by Daddy, to stop watching their TV program and scribble something on paper. Afterall, it’s what’s expected. They grumble the entire time, not really caring that this day is to celebrate mommy. They just know they have to stop watching their cartoons and make some stupid thing for mom.
This isn’t how I want it to be. I don’t want it to be a forced, expected, gift-giving day. I don’t want it to be one more holiday the stores have drummed up to make a buck. As far as I’m concerned, the meaningless “stuff” can go by the wayside.
Here are 5 things I wish my family understood about Mother’s Day, and what is really means to me.
5 Things I Wish My Family Understood About Mother’s Day
1. Reflecting on the Births of My Children
Each birth was unique, and a special experience. I like to think back about my daughter, who was my first. They laid her on my chest right after the birth, and the emotions were too hard to contain. I was so, so happy, scared, and overwhelmed with love. I was a mommy to this little human, and all I could do was cry and look at her. I was in such awe, and I still tear up thinking about it. I think of my son, who came almost four years later. He was a completely different birthing experience. He was a handful before he was even born, but he completed our family. I remember getting choked up when my little no-longer-an-only-child daughter held, kissed, and loved on her new little brother for the first time. They were best friends from day one. To me, these were the ultimate Mother’s Days.
2. Experiencing Firsts as a Mommy
There have been so many firsts. If I wasn’t their mom, I wouldn’t have the ability to understand how special and important these firsts are. As silly as it sounds, I cried like a baby the first time my daughter met Mickey Mouse. I cheered and cried for joy the first time my son went crawling across the floor while at daycare. I laughed and cringed the first time my daughter cursed, copying mommy. I swelled with pride the first time my son counted to 100 without help. The list goes on for miles, but these firsts, with these kids (MY kids) wouldn’t be possible if I was not their mom.
3. Family Vacations
Vacations were fun before, don’t get me wrong. It, however, brings a whole new level of pride and fun to watch our vacations through the eyes of the children. Whether it’s playing in the ocean, climbing up a rope ladder at the zoo, or jumping for joy when they find out we get to go miniature golfing during an otherwise ordinary trip, it’s fun to experience our family vacations through their eyes. We now get to plan trips around what the kids will like, and in turn, we enjoy the vacations because we get to experience the kids’ joy. Again, if I wasn’t blessed with the monicker of “Mother,” I wouldn’t understand how fulfilling these experiences can be.
4. Unconditional Love
Granted, I know the teenage years are coming quicker than I’d like, but my kids are still under age ten. They are still at that magical age where I get snuggles and cuddles nightly. My son tells me that he’ll never stop loving me. My daughter still makes me random “I love you” crafts, and says she’ll love me no matter what. They get silly with excitment when we show up to pick them up from school, and they’ll yell across the school yard, “I love you!” They aren’t yet to the phase where everything we do embarrasses them, and I’ll take that as long as I can!
5. The Joy and Healing of Just Watching Them Be Kids
It is funny what a Fountain of Youth watching children play can be. I am constantly in awe of these kids. They are my kids! So full of energy, creativity, life, caring for others, and so naive about the fears and ugliness of this world we live in. It is like a breath of new life just watching them play, create, learn, and love like only a child can.
So, to me, Mother’s Day is not about material things. It’s not about getting some meaningless token from a store, or forcing the children to make solicited cards of thanks. This day means two wonderful kids gave me the best gift imaginable when they made me a mommy! It’s getting to reflect on the life we have, and the life I look forward to living with them for years to come.