This year for my Birthday I got the usual birthday wishes and kisses and some super thoughtful gifts. Gifts that my kids for the first time purchased all by themselves without prompting or being given money. Most of them work now so they have their own money. Although I did love the gifts, it was something else that made me so happy. Something that I feel will be the thing I remember about 47. It was what they wrote in the cards they bought that makes me love them even more.
My daughter wrote how happy she is that I am her mom and how much it meant to her that I loved her gifts. I always love them but she thought of them so I imagine it means more because of that. All the firsts of motherhood came with her and that is something only the first child can claim. So many firsts that I tried to make a big deal of and cheer about and encourage. Many hard days had me wondering if she thought I was a good mom even on the days where I was the “Mean Mom”… she did think that and every kiss and every word she wrote in my card tells me I am so lucky that she was my first child. The one who imprinted what mother – child love is and helped me to love my sons like only a mother can. Thank you Katy for being my first baby!
My youngest son wrote how lucky he feels to have me as his mother and how spoiled he feels he is because of what I sacrifice to make sure they are well cared for and yes, spoiled. Sometimes I have wondered over the years if they know how much I try to give in the day to day so they will someday realize as they have children that A) it can be done B) it is a sacrifice made from love. As I read those words I realized, he knows. So much love reading those words that were unsolicited and written in the neatest print with thought and care to each thing he wanted to say. Thank you James for noticing and appreciating and being the best last baby I could ever ask for. You have taught me so much about love and perseverance and being tough. I admire you and I am a better person because of you.
What my oldest son wrote touched me most. He is headed to college in the fall and I am dreading it. I miss him already and worry about him because I won’t be there. Not because I feel like he can’t take care of himself because I know he can and will…I just feel sad that he’ll be without his family and I’ll be without him for days on end…perhaps weeks. What he wrote made me cry tears of happiness because I know he’s ready to leave and be on his own and I helped prepare him for that. The son who still calls me Mama, maybe because he knows I love it so, wrote three things that to me are the foundational successes that you want your children to reach.
He wrote that he is not “scared” to leave because he feels I did a good job preparing him to be out in the world. He wrote that he knows that I helped him be the man that he WANTS to be (not the man he could be) who is as caring about others as he is of himself. Good boy..you make me so proud. He also wrote that although he will be away from his home that he will always come back to his “safe place” and that he knows the door is open always. I just smile thinking about these thoughts that he wrote in my birthday card. He must know how hard his leaving is for me even though I try not to dwell on it. I don’t want him to be sad. Apparently it’s all ok but he knows in his heart and somewhere deep down I think he’ll be sad about leaving me too. I will miss him so. You are my first son Johnny and you have taught me how to never give up and to be strong and have goals. I began running because I knew you would never let me give up and that I should be strong for you and your sister and brother. You came with me on that first mile and didn’t leave my side and helped me finish something that I don’t know if I would otherwise have. You inspire me.
As I think about all the words from my children I realized that I helped to create a home for my children where they feel safe from all the sadness and hurt that the world can sometimes deliver. They know they can come home and find peace from troubles, smiles to replace frowns and well a home cooked meal any day of the week. I have loved my first 20+ years as your mother and I can’t wait to see the next 20 as you travel the road of adulthood. God has been good to me because he gave me each of you who helps me in different ways every minute of every day. There was a time when I wondered if I should be a mom…now there is absolutely no doubt that motherhood is the greatest gift of all. I sang it to each of you from the moment I knew you were coming and at every opportunity I could and now I know that each of you knows that you are truly My Sunshine.