Last year for Mother’s Day my brother, sister, and I gave our mom a memory box. Inside the box were slips of paper, each with a special memory from one of us. These weren’t memories such as “thanks for paying for my college education” or “thanks for teaching me right from wrong,” although both are examples of the many things that mothers do for their children.
Her memory box was filled instead with those seemingly unnoticed, day-to-day things that occur during a lifetime between mother and child. We decided not to assume that Mom knew the way we felt; we wanted to tell her. When we gave our gift to her, we shared the hope that she would look in the box occasionally whenever she wanted to be reminded of some memories that her children held dear. We also told her we would be quietly adding to the box throughout the coming years as new memories were forged.
So there in the box were thank-yous and statements such as “I remember you made my butterfly net for me and helped me with my butterfly collection,” or “I remember the mud house I built in the back yard one summer. You never said a word about the horrible mess and even praised my results.” Or “I remember how wonderful your pink hand lotion smelled when you would lean down to kiss me goodnight years ago.” Or “I remember the two of us visiting college campuses my junior year and how wonderful those long talks were in the car as we traveled.”
To mother is an active verb. Because moms are busy on a daily basis mothering to their children’s needs they may not realize the tremendous impact the little things they do have upon their children. To mother means giving hugs, kissing scraped knees, cheering from the bleachers, practicing multiplication tables and reciting bedtime prayers together. Such things are done each day because moms love their children. Just as true as children grow older, moms are adjusting wedding veils, miraculously quieting crying grandchildren and sharing cooking tips while they continue to give hugs and kiss life’s little scrapes.
Thank-you’s to moms can happen everywhere and at any time. Last Thanksgiving, after many years of enjoying the best homemade turkey gravy ever at my mom’s table, I finally took the time to watch and listen to how she made it. I would put that thank-you into today’s box.
This past Easter I was waiting for Mom to call and tell me about Easter dinner plans at her house for all the family. Each year the family gathers at Mom and Dad’s after church, shares a delicious meal and then hunts for Easter eggs in the yard. It has never mattered whether one is eight or eighty, the hunt has always been a highlight of the day. With Easter only a week away, I still hadn’t heard from Mom. I called and asked what our plans were going to be. She sweetly suggested that maybe it was time to start some new traditions and that she and Dad had no particular plans for the day. The gavel had been passed.
After a few quick calculations, I invited the family to our house this year. We had a wonderful time, and I’m so glad she allowed me to share that day with her in my home. I would put that thank-you in her memory box today as well.
Our mom is not with us now, and we have found that life’s tomorrows were only possibilities, not promises. Mother’s Day is a good day to remember the little things that moms are always doing, for they are really the important things of life.