This Sunday is Mother’s Day -- a day when many moms around the country will be eating burnt toast or cherishing noodle art creations made by their very own children. I vividly remember the mornings when my brother, sister, and I would make breakfast for our own mom and serve her like the queen we saw her as. Most years, that also involved at least one of us climbing into bed with her and eating most of the food. I remember proudly giving her the homemade card and project I made so happily for her. You would think I was giving her diamonds by the hugs I received.
As I grew up, the noodle art stopped. The cards were bought at a grocery store. The presents became less personal and more expensive. My mom loved anything her children did for her at any age, but looking back, I can now see that the joy she received by those early gifts was genuine. Those homemade gifts were more valuable to her than diamonds. I just never knew why. I was convinced as a teenager that buying her a gift she could use would be much more appreciated than a silly frame or lopsided “vase” that was made at school. I was so wrong.
Now that I am on the receiving end of the gifts, I absolutely understand why those early years brought my mom so much joy and lit her eyes up so brightly with unshed tears. I cherish every handmade card my children give me. I love every lopsided vase, popsicle-stick frame, and noodle art creation that I have been given. One day, my children will be horrified -- or happy -- to see all of these in a box in the back of my closet. I never throw them out. I keep them displayed as long as I can and then I transfer them to the box.
My older boys are no longer in the “homemade” stage. They are more into the “Dad, what are we getting for Mom for Mother’s Day?” stage. I remember telling them last year that I would rather they wrote me a note or colored with their sister than to spend any money on me. That got me huge eye rolls and more than a few “Moooooom! We are too old for that!” If only they realized that whereas they may be too old for it, I most certainly am not.
My youngest child is only eight years old. She still loves to draw pictures and make things for me. Each day is an adventure in artistry and creation. Sometimes I am the beneficiary of her creativity, sometimes not. Every time I am, I beam with excitement that she is still gifting me with her own creations. I don’t know how much longer I have before she joins the ranks of store-bought cards and flowers.
I remember my own mom telling me the same thing I told my children: “Anything you make is precious to me.” I am sure I gave her quite the eye roll at that statement just as my kids did to me.
My mom passed away three years ago. In her last few months, my sister and I would decorate her hospital room with pictures. Most of the pictures were photographs of the family. But some of the pictures were simply pictures my sister and I colored for her. We gave her pictures of rainbows and flowers that we made and hung in her room. We are both moms now and knew how much joy those pictures would bring to her even though we are well past the noodle art age. She would smile with every new handmade picture. I understood that smile, and I felt a connection with her every time we shared it.
This year on Mother’s Day, I'm sure I will receive store-bought cards and gifts, and I will cherish them because they are from my children. But? I also know I will receive something handmade by my youngest. I will probably cry. She will probably laugh at that. My older boys will roll their eyes. My husband will look at me and understand. And for just that morning, I will cherish my handmade creation, the tiny hands that hand it to me, and the love with which they were made.
Later that day, I will sit with my daughter and make some noodle art for my own mom. I know that I won’t be sending it to her, but somehow it brings her closer to me now that I know how much the little things mean. At the end of the day, I will add an inscription and the year and put it in the box with my own treasured creations.
It will baffle my children one day. Unless, of course, my own daughter is a mother at that time. Then? She will understand and know exactly why I not only saved their art, but added in some for my own mom after she died. It really is the most cherished of all gifts!
Here's to you moms on Mother’s Day! May you receive breakfast that is eaten for you, art projects made by tiny hands, and cards that are handwritten and hard to read.
And may they bless you.