For my very first Mother's Day, Steve (and my little baby Benedict) gave me a card with an Almond Joy candy bar taped to it. Now, I am not one to slap the hand that feeds me chocolate, but I have to admit that I was hoping for just a skosh more. I mean, after all, it was my first Mother's Day, a day I had truly looked forward to it since the very moment that little pink stick read +. If the perfectly pudgy rosy cheeked result of 26 agonizing hours of drug free labor and delivery isn't enough to celebrate motherhood (thank God the details on that one are a little fuzzy), I don't know what is!
Now, I'm not a gift snob, I promise. Trust me, I wolfed that candy bar down as if my life depended on it. But, I had to wonder, what would next year bring? Twix? Kit-Kat? Pay-Day?
This year, I came home from my annual weekend retreat in Chicago to find four happy baskets of beautiful blooms waiting just for me! Amazed and surprised are not descriptive of how I felt. My eyes are still bulging!
Lately, I've been a teachin' and preachin' the acronym for FAMILY in our home -
Forget About Me I Love You!
I really felt those words expressed with great understanding in the bouquets of love hanging from our deck.A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken, you need to put the beverage down right now and run out and buy it. Or, if you live 250 miles from a bookstore like me, mosey on over to Amazon.
I remember reading it in college, and being so touched by the expressions of selflessness demonstrated by the two romantic characters in the book. Initially, though very much drawn to one another, they had very separate interests. Yet, both desired to learn about the other's pastimes and amusements in order to become closer through the gift of appreciation.
Teaching the boys how to extend themselves to think of others in this way is difficult, because they are all so closely connected to Steve and to one another through the common bonds of sports, farming, Legos, being gross etc., etc. And, though I'm not one to back away from a one-on-one hoop session, going fishing, talking tractors or shooting a gun, there are other things I would rather do, other interests that don't necessarily appeal to a house full of boys. The fact that they've never had to play with a sister who's every day language includes words like Barbie and dress up, isn't helping my situation either.
Horticulture is one of my favorite areas of study and application. Since I was gone on Sunday, and Sundays in our house tend to lean toward masculine hobbies (sports, hunting, action flicks, etc.), I believe it was a stretch for them to spend their afternoon shopping for and planting those baskets of beautiful flowers. Though digging in the dirt did help ease the suffering (smile)!
What I first realized when I received their gift was that what was even more beautiful than the blooms was the fact that they were aware of the likes and interests of someone outside of themselves. Even though they do not share in my passion, they chose to honor it, and to honor me through the gift of giving of themselves. Witnessing this character in your children is a beautiful experience!
Should any of my boys happen to marry and have their own family one day, on Mother's Day I will be sitting by the phone, waiting for my daughter-in-law to call with ecstatic joy over her husband's unwavering adoration and thoughtfulness. Then I'll pull an Almond Joy out of my chocolate stash and celebrate right along with her.