Barbara, a Grown and Flown friend writes: My favorite gifts that I have received are those that were given for no special event. I never particularly liked the idea of Mother’s Day. Sure, I loved the homemade menus and breakfasts in bed provided by my kids and the sweet cards they drew for me. I felt lucky that my children let me know on a regular basis how much they loved me. I didn’t need a special day to be singled out or to get a tangible gift.
When my kids were little, I was fortunate to have a college student help me in the summer as I was too nervous to take the three kids to the pool or beach by myself. We were a team, Jane and I, and we developed a close bond that led me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding, a comfort at her mother’s funeral six weeks later and an “Auntie” to her three daughters. We both felt blessed that we had come into each others’ lives. So when Jane once called me in tears to say that her eldest daughter, Ivy, was being bullied at school, I not only felt angry and upset but also powerless that there was nothing I could do to help except support Jane and tell Ivy every time I saw her how wonderful, beautiful and smart she was and that I loved her very much.
I remember being bullied myself as a little girl and I shared that painful past with her. I did this, not to minimize what was happening, but to let her know that there are always hurtful people who we have to deal with in our lives. I felt overwhelmingly compelled to give Ivy a gift to remind her how much she was loved. I believed she needed something tangible that she could hold onto and so I had a necklace made and sent it to her in the mail. There was the additional surprise of a special package arriving at the door. It became her talisman, something that she could wear around her neck, to touch and think about how important she was to so many.
For me, this is what a gift is all about. Not a date on the calendar that has to be honored, but rather the gift of an item or of oneself to let the other person know that they are being thought about and loved. This Mother’s Day one of my sons will be graduating from college. It will be a wonderful gift to share the day with him and feel the pride of his success. It will be a gift that I will never forget and, though it is occurring on Mother’s Day, it really doesn’t matter what day it is on the calendar.
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