Mother's Day, this year.
Lunch - a fancy lunch, with fish in some special sauce, asparagus, kale salad. All homemade.
A gift card for a steakhouse.
A new hairbrush.
A miniature clothesline of photographs; me and my mom, my grandmother, Tony's mom. Years and years of maternal love.
They said, Remember that one year that we didn't do anything for Mother's Day and we totally screwed up? And we went over to Brian and Susan's because we didn't plan anything for you? Remember how we blew that one?
I don't remember.
"I love you bunches. You are the best person ever. Don't know what I would do without you!"
"Enjoy your new hair brush. I got one similar to the old one so you can transition easily."
There was a text message from a young man who sat on my porch as a boy, telling a difficult story about a challenging home life. Every year, he texts me a simple three word statement on Mother's Day. It means more than he probably realizes.
It was different this year; not everyone was home. My own mother is tending to her sister's needs, living out her calling. And it is different as adulthood tugs these children of mine into new positions, circling around me now. Where they once crawled on my lap, hugged on my legs and rode my hips, now they jockey for position to set the table, to wrap an arm around me; to clean the house and prepare the food. Flowers are set just right and the corner of the house becomes an artful display of greenery and memories.
It seems appropriate that they pulled out the scrapbooks tonight, pouring over pictures taken 15 years ago and marveling at the truth of their history.
"David was so tiny!"
"Look - I was always wearing a hat. I don't even like hats!"
"What was this outfit?"
Looking back, they see their own growth, and it is amazing. They are still so close to that childhood; the bones are still fresh and strong, the memories sit close to their skin.
I wonder at the difference in our perspectives. They see themselves, growing taller and stronger, their faces filling out and their aptitude and skills developing with rapid capacity.
I see them; but I feel me. I see the change in them; I feel the plates shifting in me.
I celebrate Mother's Day, not because my kids cook lunch and give me flowers. I celebrate with deeply rooted passion and an exquisite joy, because in His unparallelled wisdom God saw fit to give me the very thing necessary to mold me; to break me, to reduce me to a position of humility that my stubborn heart would not embrace in any other fashion. Motherhood does that, you know. Taken at face value, it robs you of any easy selfishness. It changes your focus.
It changed me.
My kids' presence in my life and the sheer will and determination it took to get them to adulthood, alive and intact (with one yet to go...) altered my life irrevocably. I spent my days floating on the winds of spontaneity and whatever sounded good at the time - until I had kids.
They forced my hand. They settled me down.
And now they go off into the world and live their lives (with that one yet to go...) and they leave me here, changed. For the better.
I thank God for Mother's Day and this reminder that I am changed, I am better; I am refined, and it was all beyond my doing.
I love my kids for who they are; I love my kids for how God allowed them to make me who I am.
I am one grateful woman.
Happy Mother's Day.