Happy Mother’s Day to all you Moms out there! I hope you have a beautifully relaxing day, filled with chocolate, hugs and kisses, and a good foot massage! 🙂
My mom is older now and in that stage of life where she doesn’t want or need anything. It’s difficult to come up with a gift idea that she will appreciate and that truly shows I care. It is made more difficult by the fact that my mom and I struggle. A lot. So after much thought, I decided on the Gift of Gratitude for her this year. I wrote her a letter that highlights the things I most appreciate about her.
I’m posting the main part of the letter because perhaps you too are someone who, for whatever reason, struggles with what to do for your mom. Perhaps it will inspire you to do something similar. And if it’s too late for Mother’s Day, the Gift of Gratitude can be given at any time, you don’t even need a reason for giving it!
It’s no secret we’ve had many a moment in years past, but despite all of that, I have always had a tremendous amount of respect for you as a woman and a mother and the very essence of who I think you are. You have always been a remarkable woman in my eyes and the very source from whom I have drawn much of my strength during my own life.
Some of my most treasured memories are those days we spent playing various board games or card games; the tennis lessons in the driveway; the walks after dinner down the street; you reading to all of us in the dentist office; looking into the bleachers at my basketball games or track meets and ALWAYS seeing you there; the trips to the library on Friday nights in the summers; lunches out after receiving our report cards; watching you in the kitchen as you got dinner ready; the special touches you brought to every holiday and of course my specially made birthday cakes.
There are those memories that aren’t so treasured, but that were necessary for me to grow into a young woman of whom I hope you are proud today. I learned to be true to myself and others – always. I learned self respect and respect of others. I learned to try things at least once and decide on my own if I liked something or not. I learned the world has many different people and experiences to offer. I think I can say that the most valuable gift I hold deep in my heart is my faith and love for the rosary. My memories of you sitting in your chair, saying the rosary everyday, have impacted my life profoundly. I didn’t always like being “neglected” for that hour everyday, but I understand now and appreciate deeply your influence. The desire and will to be successful are driving forces in my life. You certainly embedded in me the drive to do my best at any task or in any situation.
Your strength and courage are traits I have never questioned, but have admired from the beginning of my realization that you possessed them with such intensity. Though you may find it to be quite frustrating when I do not speak of the challenges in my life, it is those moments that I am searching my heart and soul for the same valor I have always observed from you. And how fortunate for me that I have always come back to that priceless gift of my faith because I always, always, always observed you doing the same.
I am eternally grateful for the gifts of compassion and caring for others that you have instilled in me. I think these traits are much of what defines my very being today and I am grateful that I obtained them from such a worthy role model. I know it is frustrating when you call my phone and I don’t answer, but those are the times that I am rocking babies and trying to offer them just an ounce of the nurturing I received. I am visiting my older neighbors because it was embedded in me the value of our elders and of being a good neighbor. I am visiting children in the hospital because I know how much I needed someone to visit me as a child and as an adult. I am delivering gifts to people in need of the real meaning of Christmas because Christmas has always been real for me – both as a child and as an adult. I am feeding the homeless because there has never been a minute that I was left hungry. I am coaching basketball because I want my team to learn the same values of teamwork and patience that I was given when I was younger. I am working with Gift of Life, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and the American Cancer Society because there is a reason that I have been given chance after chance after chance in this world to live a healthy lifestyle. And I am doing other things that I hope reflect the incredible fortunes I have been chosen to receive in my lifetime. I am not telling you this because I want a pat on the back, but because a most treasured lesson that I strive to live by every single day of my life is to never take more than I give. I’ve taken quite a bit in my years and I only have my lifetime to offer an ounce of it back.
So I may not have been the top student in any of my classes or the star athlete on any sports team or even the most eloquent musician on the stage, but I think I have been somewhat successful in the school of life. As an educator, I know you know very well the challenges put before us on a daily basis to inspire and challenge our students. Congratulations! I think when a child can look in the eyes of their teacher and see a clear reflection of who they are, then that teacher has been most successful in their lifetime! I applaud you and my heart bows to you with the utmost gratitude. If in my lifetime I can accomplish even half of what you have, then my life will be successful and complete.
With a grateful heart,