It's my mom's birthday today. She'd be turning 71, if she were still alive.
This is always a loaded time for me: Mom's birthday and Mother's Day, both crammed into one emotionally-charged week.
Although she was a terrific mother -- focused on her kids, held high expectations, taught by example, and was ever a peacemaker -- my mom always loathed Mother's Day. Said it was too sappy and sentimental. Said it made her feel guilty. Sometimes, although she was über-righteous, she'd even stay home from church, just to avoid the maudlin Mother's Day meeting. Every time we asked her what she wanted for Mother's Day she answered, "Nice kids and a clean house." We could never figure out why she always said that. (Of course I get it now!)
I've inherited my mother's loathing of Mother's Day. Sensing a need to protect myself, I usually fix my own dinner (so I get exactly what I'm craving) and buy myself something I want. I don't tell anybody I'm doing it (but sometimes I go as far as to get it wrapped). It's a way for me to manage the ups and downs of a roller-coaster day. And sometimes it works.
But this year I'm trying something new. The best way to honor my mother is to be the best I can be in return. Hoping to assuage some of the pain and guilt in time for Sunday, I'm starting a week ahead. I'm not buying myself anything. I'm cleaning my house. Because that's what I really want. (Especially after remodeling.) I can't do anything about the nice kids part. But I can be a nice mom. No, nice doesn't cut it. I can be a great mom. A happy, compassionate, organized, nurturing, exemplary, superhuman mom...at least I think I can try it on for a week.
One day, when we were pondering whether or not to have baby #3, I had a heart-to-heart with God. I told him I didn't think I was a very good mother, and maybe I didn't deserve another child. But I would do whatever He wanted. Amazingly, in that instant He answered me with a series of mental snapshots -- my own private youtube of spiritual video clips of all the times I was a perfect mom. I couldn't have imagined a better answer to my soul-searching. I've never forgotten it. (But I wish I could get it on DVD, to review daily.) So for Mother's Day this year, I want to create another series of perfect mothering moments -- new ones. I know I can't be perfect -- even for a day, but I can perfect a few moments. And I know from experience that the Lord remembers them even when we don't.
So I'm taking lessons.
My first round of instruction came from the family dog.
You can read it here.
But I want to hear from you, too.
Since I can't ask my mom for help or advice,
I have to learn from other mothers.
(And after 15 years of running a design studio out of my house, I always feel like I'm playing catch-up to my stay-at-home heroes.)
What's the best thing you've ever done as a mother?
What would be among your perfect mothering moments?
And of course I have to acknowledge that the very best tutoring I receive comes when I am on my knees.
But I still want to hear from you.