Although mothers everywhere are being celebrated, sometimes this is a difficult weekend for moms. They may look around at all of the fabulous mothers in their lives and feel like they just don’t measure up, despite their efforts.
I’ve been there!
My mom is a creative genius. I didn’t inherit any of her creative talents, but she comes to my rescue when I am in need of help in this area. She has made several beautiful floral arrangements for my home, and I think of her every time I see them.
She decorates wedding cakes, spends hours making beautiful invitations…or beaded bookmarks…or jewelry…or calligraphy projects…you name it – she can do it beautifully. I wish I had even an ounce of her talent.
I have many memories of her staying up late into the night with a project spread all over the kitchen table. There were exquisite invitations to the women’s meeting at church – each one perfect and created with love and care. There were calligraphy projects for the neighbor down the street without a mark out-of-place, each letter formed perfectly. There were the sugar cookies, each one hand decorated with intricate designs for the elementary school Valentine’s Day party.
I could go on and on. Through her example, she taught me what it means to use talents to bless the lives of others. I always hoped that her talents would be my talents.
And then I grew up.
I realized that I did not have the talents that she has.
No matter how hard I tried, I could not create the masterpieces that she could create.
And even if I could, I would not enjoy it.
Because crafting is not really fun for me.
My kids do not see me staying up all night with a project on the table. They know that other people do not call me to decorate wedding cakes, arrange flowers, make beautiful invitations, or anything even remotely similar. They have come to the harsh realization that I do not go all out for holidays or birthdays, I do not offer to make intricately decorated cookies for school, I do not do cute hairstyles (can you say hair tangled around rubber bands if I try…and lots of screaming that it hurts…), and I am not the one that they should come to for creative ideas. They drew the short stick in a lot of ways when they were born into my care.
However, when asked what they love about me, they said stuff like:
“I love Mom because she cooks me good food.”
“I love Mom because she is always there for me to talk to.”
“I love Mom because she makes me yummy dinners.”
“I love Mom because she is a good cook.”
“I love Mom because she always thinks of others.”
And when I snuggle Carson at night and sing the traditional “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” before he drifts off to sleep, he says, “Mom, you sing so pretty,” and my heart melts every time.
I know that I don’t sing as pretty as many other people. He probably says that because he doesn’t really know the difference between good singing and bad singing. And all of the food I make is not yummy…just ask the garbage disposal. I know that I often don’t listen as well as I should, and I surely don’t make the creative cut that I always hoped I would when growing up with such a talented mother.
Nevertheless, when all is said and done, none of that really matters. My kids don’t complain that I don’t do awesome stuff like Grandma. It just makes them appreciate her even more when we spend time with her.
They don’t complain that I am not more like other moms that they know who do lots of things that I don’t do.
Maybe they are just worried about hurting my feelings, but I suspect that is not really the case.
I believe that they don’t focus on what I don’t do because they see the things that I DO. They see me spending lots of time in the kitchen cooking, and most of the time, they like the results. They appreciate that I love to cook, and many of them are also developing a love for the kitchen.
They will not grow up with memories of late night craft projects. Rather, they will grow up with memories of trying new recipes several times every week and experimenting with different flavors. They will remember spending time in the kitchen as a family, learning the art of cooking from scratch. They will remember the homemade ice cream that is almost a weekly guest at our Sunday table, the big messes that cooking creates, and the satisfaction of tasting the good food that they helped to make.
That makes me happy, because it means that I don’t have to feel bad for not being more like my mom, or other amazing moms who do all sorts of awesome things with their kids. It means that my kids love ME for who I AM, even if my talents are not as obvious as those of others. They appreciate what I have to offer them because I am uniquely their mom.
I don’t have to be creative and crafty for them to appreciate me. I don’t have to spend hours and tons of money planning and executing big birthday parties. I can just be plain, simple old ME – and that is enough for them.
I am fairly confident that they will grow up and look back on these days with fond memories that have been sweetened by the love that I gave to them in my own way.
I am absolutely certain that your kids feel the same way about you. If you don’t believe me, ask them what they love about you. My guess is that they will list all of the wonderful things that they see doing. I can almost guarantee that they will not tell you about the things they wish you would do better.
Now THAT is worth celebrating.
Happy Mother’s Day!