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On the eve of my first Mother's Day, I can't tell you how excited I was. I felt like I was part of some exclusive club that only select people could join. I was not ashamed to tell my husband where I would like to go for lunch or what I wanted as a gift-something to signify that I was indeed a mom.
Mother's Day is always on a Sunday and Sundays in our household growing up meant church. At church, I always marveled at all the women given a carnation to signify that they were moms. I always wanted a day where I would get my own flower.
Over the years, I only vaguely remember some of the things I have bought for my mom and grandmother for Mother's Day. Memories of Mother's Days in my childhood seem to run together. They all seemed the same. Calls to grandmothers, brunch/lunch, cards handed out with hugs and kisses. Perfume, bouquets of flowers, orchid corsages to wear to church, planters, and jewelry given as gifts.
One Mother's Day though does stand out though in my mind. My dad often wasn't home growing up since his job required him to travel. I had been up late waiting for him to come home on the eve of Mother's Day. He hadn't. I had nothing for my mom for Mother's Day besides a little card that I had made. At the time we didn't get any allowance. I think I was only 8 or 9 years old. My sister was 3 years older than me.
I begged my mom for a few dollars to go to the little mom and pop store up the road to buy something for Mother's Day. She handed over a $10 bill and my sister and I set off on foot. At the time, money had been tight but my mother handed over the money without any lectures about budgets.
When we got to the store, there were balloons, bouquets of flowers, planters, and some chocolates to choose from. My sister and I picked out a little swan planter with a plant nestled inside. It was cheesy and kitschy but at that age, those are the things children are drawn to. We paid for our purchase, excited to present the gift to my mom.
I was wearing yellow flats that had a tendency to be slippery. I always felt so grown up in those shoes which is why I choose to wear them. A bus had been coming up the little hill by the store. My sister and I went rushing across the road in an attempt to get home as quickly as possible to hand over our Mother's Day present.
In our haste, my shoes slipped on some loose gravel and I fell down hard in the road. I remember the bus stopping as it came closer to us. The little swan that I had been clutching had hit the pavement and shattered. I was heartbroken and started sobbing uncontrollably trying to grasp some of the larger pieces. I was more concerned over the state of the swan than my skinned knee and hands. I remember my sister yelling at me to forget about it and to get out of the road.
All that was left of the planter was the little plastic cup filled with dirt and the plant which had remained unharmed in the fall. I remember my mom meeting us at the door after we ran (or tried to since my shoes were not exactly appropriate for running) the entire way home. My mom had thought something dire had happened by my tears.
After getting the story, my mother was more concerned over my fall than the loss of the swan (and the waste of money). And as was typical, reminded me that I needed to be more careful crossing the road. When I handed over the plant, she acted as though it was the nicest Mother's Day present she had ever received.
My dad had returned home later that night, sans a Mother's Day gift. Shame on him.
The lesson I learned was that my mom, any mom, just wants their children's undivided attention for more than just a few moments on that one day a year. For us to show them that we value them and what they do/did for us. It really is as simple as that. Just a few little words which are sometimes the hardest gifts to give. Maybe because unlike the gifts that we buy, these gifts require us to give a little piece of ourselves. Maybe because we don't always have the smoothest relationships with our moms due to being to different or maybe to much alike. Or sometimes as moms ourselves, we don't always agree with decisions that our own moms have made.
Now every time I see swans I think of that Mother's Day and of my mom.
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY MOMS!
Enjoy your special day. You deserve it.