As we approach Mothers' Day, I'm reminded of a gift I received recently:
In the midst of preparing dinner one night, I was handed an unwrapped box.
“This is for you, Mom. I forgot to give it to you at Christmas and I just found it in my closet.”
Belated gifts are always welcome, but when given by one of my boys? Even better.
Curious and a bit perplexed, I opened the box to discover a one-of-a-kind pipe cleaner creation; a bracelet encircled with what I can only best describe as a myriad of pastel-hued curly fries. Truly a work of art. When I asked my boy if he had made it at school or seen the idea for it somewhere else, he simply shrugged and said, “No, I just made it myself.”
And then it came back to me: after coming home from shopping for gifts for his brothers and dad, just days before Christmas, this son telling me with regret and sadness in his voice,
“But mom, I don’t have anything for you.”
I’d assured him that he didn’t need to buy me anything, that I’d be just as happy with something handmade by him. I vaguely remembering him asking for pipe cleaners. And then in the hustle and bustle of getting ready for Christmas, I hadn’t given those pipe cleaners a second thought. And when gifts were exchanged and opened Christmas morning, apparently this gift was forgotten by the both of us in some dusty corner of his closet, waiting until this day to make its debut.
In that moment, right there in the midst of the dishes and whatever variety of chicken was being prepared that night, my heart melted. Not because I’d been pining away for a pipe cleaner bracelet, but because of the thought and effort my son put into creating it for me.
I don't think I'm alone in saying that the most meaningful gifts aren't the ones that are the most expensive, or the ones on the "IT" list in all the magazines, but 99.9% of the time, the most meaningful gifts are those given with thought and effort by the gift-giver. Whether that's a store-bought gift in which your husband listened to that hint you dropped 3 weeks ago, or that thumbprint-in-clay necklace your kindergartner painstakingly painted while his friends abandoned him for the block center.
So I encourage you not to stress over that "just right" gift this Mothers' Day. If your gift has thought and effort and a whole lot o' love mixed in, I’ve got a pretty strong hunch it will be well-received.
If you’re a mama, I wish you a wonderful Mothers’ Day for this Sunday - your role is so important in this world, and most specifically with your kids. Those dishes and carpools and loads of laundry and goodnight kisses are all working together to raise up mighty world-changers. And if this Mothers' Day brings with it more sadness than joy for whatever circumstance you’re in, I pray God’s comfort and peace for you (if that’s not you, but you have someone close who’s facing infertility or has lost a child or mom, give them an extra-big hug this week - grief can hit hard at times like this).
May every one of us, no matter our role or title, seek to encourage and inspire the next generation - they truly depend on us so much. And may we let the women who did the same for us know they are loved and deeply appreciated.
Pull out the pipe cleaners, friend; it's time to get to work!
All the best,