I'm having trouble concisely composing my thoughts this Mother's Day (probably due to the kicking, squirming, LIVING little child inside my womb who takes up a lot of the oxygen which ordinarily might flow to my brain). But somewhere in my heart, I have lots of joy I want to express. Usually, when that's the case, a song will erupt and flood my mind all day, quite literally becoming, the song of my heart. Embarrassingly enough (or appropriately, I haven't rationalized which one yet), today's song is this little mother's chorus that my mom sang to me COUNTLESS times when I was a little girl. I'm sure you've heard it (though I bet some of the editorial side remarks are unique to my experience).
You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are gray (like they are today) You'll never know dear, how much I love you (until you have kids of your own) Please don't take my sunshine away.
The parenthetical references are Deb Creswell originals (I believe). And it's that phrase, "You'll never know dear, how much I love you, UNTIL YOU HAVE KIDS OF YOUR OWN." That's sticking with me today. My kids aren't perfect. In fact, lots of times, after they're in bed, Steve and I dare to wonder aloud when we'll start to even "like" them again. (That's the truth ... we always love them, cherish them, and hug and kiss them, but there are days when they make it really difficult to "like" them.)
So when I think about how best to show my mom I love her today, and that I'm thankful for her work ... I know it's not a gift or a present that she wants. (Although my husband created some amazing photo canvases of the children for both our moms). Because it's not a gift I want (Although the 3 roses, yes, Daddy thought of Baby Tres too, on my table with a hand colored card bring tears to my eyes ... and the still disassembled bathroom, soon to be renovated for a Mother's Day surprise, are pretty spectacular). What I want to know, for Mother's Day, is that my children know, beyond a shadow of a doubt just how much I love them.
I want them to know that the kisses and hugs I give when I let them out of their rooms each morning are something I treasure (infinitely more than they do)
I want them to know that it's BECAUSE I love them that I send them to their rooms, give them time outs, have to give spankings, endure the temper tantrums, and enforce dreaded nap times/sleep schedules so that they stay healthy and grow strong.
I want them to know that I don't care if I ever have clothes that are in fashion, a home that is tastefully decorated, or vehicles that are younger than they are. I want them to know I'd sacrifice all amounts of creature comforts and luxuries to give them things they need or even want (like a bi-lingual Christian education, or dance lessons, or violin (?) lessons)
I want them to know that I pray, every day, sometimes multiple times during the day (and even in some cases on an hourly basis), that God will grip their hearts with love for Him. That as they grow they will discern their calling in His world and live fully in that calling no matter the sacrifices it might cost them (or us!)
In short, I guess I'm saying, I want them to know how much I LOVE them ... and what a Mother's love really means.
It's this Mother's Day that I realize, they aren't going to know that for a long long long time. Maybe Kayleigh will be 35 before she sits down at whatever publishing apparatus she will have and records what her Mother's love meant to her, and how it changes the way she raises her child. Maybe Benjamin will be 40 before he pauses to think about what a Mother's love is, and notices it in his wife. But regardless of how long it takes my kids. I'm thankful, ever so thankful, for a mother who modeled all of those ways of loving I aim to possess. And she was right, I didn't understand it then. In fact, many times I was CONVINCED she didn't love me and that's why I had to endure whatever punishment/discipline was occurring at the moment. But when I see that "you must not love me look" on my daughter's face ... I remember giving it out myself. And I know what my mom must have thought ... "Just wait until the shoe is on the other foot, Kristi Joy .... you'll see. It's not because I don't love you that I'm doing this, but because I love you TOO MUCH to not."
Happy Mother's Day, Moms ... I consider it a sheer blessing to be part of your legacy. I hope that God gives me the strength be a Mom that my kids look back on (someday) and understand and appreciate.