I have suddenly, and quite rudely, discovered that mother's day isn't so much about your children honoring you, but about your husband recognizing what you do.
This became ever so clear as I spent this blessed holiday without my husband, but with my children and my own mother. You see, children under a certain age (I'll go with 7 because that's what I have) don't think about buying gifts for their mother. They don't have any money so purchasing things is out of the question. And they can't drive and wouldn't consider asking another adult to help them in enough time to make it happen. And they will need to you gather all the supplied they need for making whatever they want to make you. Mothers can't hardly be surprised.
Today my gift was concocted immediately after the breakfast of cold cereal that I served them. Let's paint mom some rocks! I am the owners of a dozen small pebbles painted with washable water colors. It is the thought that counts, and I do love that they would even consider that they should come up with something to give me without any prompting. Their daddy has taught them well.
But, this is where having a husband really helps. He can take the kids to the store, give them suggestions, think of nice things to do. My husband called to tell me that he tried to order flowers for me but the town my parents live in is so small that he couldn't find a place that would deliver them. I reassured him that it was fine. You remember how much I love flowers (waste of money, that some day I hope to enjoy but when you are broke they are just a symbol of frivolity and I look at them thinking about how much food/gas/electricity they could have bough). I reminded him that he just bought me a great watch that I got on sale for $35 and love. Happy Mothers Day to me.
My sweet 7 year old son, to his credit, also wanted to get me the "start, run, done" thing he saw on TV so that I could have more time. It took me a while to figure out what he was talking about. It is obvious that he is watching too much TV if he is able to repeat phrases from a commercial for the Mint floor cleaner. You know the one that you push a button and it magically cleans your floors while you are at work, reading a book, or doing anything else. It was really cute, that he would think of that gift for me. I would probably love it.
But the best gifts from children usually don't come from the store, and typically have a very short shelf-life. I understand now why my mom asked for the same present every year: Could you all please just get along for one day! No yelling, no hitting, no whining, no complaining, no back-talking. And how about a moment of silence? Every year it was the same request, but it didn't sound like it was grand enough for a Mother's Day present, so instead we would wrap items from her closet, or cups from the kitchen and give her those. She did a great job looking surprised and pleased. I find myself asking for the same thing and being likewise disappointed. That is Motherhood.
Also, because I am spending Mother's Day with my own mother (which never happens because we usually live thousands of miles apart) I can't very well expect my mother to wait on me hand and foot. Instead I have to take care of her, she is my mother after all! So I cleaned, cooked, entertained and am now exhausted. She is too, because she had her mother over also - and her daughters, and her brother, and her nephews and grandchildren. It was a full house. Tons of fun, but not a day of rest in the least.
Once again, there is no rest for a mother. Or any woman for that matter, we work hard!