Stories from my little corner of the world, the South. Some are from the present, some from the past...but all are from my heart.

They reflect my thoughts and views, my musing about the world, and each carries with it a bit of my heart
and soul.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Best Mother’s Day Present Can’t be Wrapped

* A column about Mother's Day from when I used to write for the paper. I think it stills hold true. Being the best person we can be, the person we were raised to be by our mothers...I think that's the best gift we can give back to them, not just on Mother's Day, but always.

  Sometimes the best kind of present doesn’t come in a box or a bag. Sometimes it’s more intangible than that. Sometimes it’s about how you live your life and what that means to someone else.

   I’ve been giving this some thought lately, wondering how you find the perfect gift to thank your mother on Mother’s Day? How do we properly show thanks to the women who have done so much for us? They have been there for us, literally, from the very beginning:  giving us life,
changing our diapers, feeding and caring for us until we are able to do so ourselves, teaching us right from wrong. Through their love and the lessons they help us learn, they shape our character and our view of the world.

    What kind of gift card can you get for your mother to repay all that? How many bottles of perfume would it take? How many dozens of roses? How many doodads or trinkets can you give her? What can you possibly give her that will convey how much your appreciate her?

   I think of this every year when Mother’s Day is just around the corner. And I wonder how I, in some small way, can truly thank my momma for all she’s done for me.

   I’m always at a loss.

   So, I got to thinking of it from a mother’s point of view: what do I want from my own child? What can she give me that would show me how much she loves and appreciates me?

   And that’s when I realized, she had already had given me that gift.

   She gives it to my every single day through her words and actions. She gives me this gift through the amazing things she is doing with her life.

   For me, seeing Sara going to graduate school to get her Master’s degree is the best gift I can imagine. She is living a dream I once had.  I revel in every class she takes, every astounding research paper she writes, and
every class she teaches.

   I am awed and so full of pride at how she balances it all so gracefully. I admire her academic endeavors and brag shamelessly.  I know I beam when talking about her to friends, coworkers, or family.

   Every mother out there knows what I’m talking about. We live for our children, and we love to see them excel and succeed.

  So then I wondered, am I giving back to my momma what Sara gives to me? Am I making her proud? I know I try to.

   I work hard at my job, I work hard at being a good wife and mother, a good daughter, granddaughter, sister, aunt, friend, and responsible citizen.  I try to live my life the way she taught me.

  If I can just do that--live the type of life I have seen her lead—then I am reasonably sure I will make her proud.

  If I can have the strength of character, the sound judgment, be as honest and truthful, as strong in will and half as hard-working as my momma always has been…then maybe…just maybe, I am able to show her how much I love, respect and admire her.

   I can’t be just like her, we are very different people and often our lives take different directions than our parents. I know I’ll never be able to get up in front of a crowd and talk like she does. I’ll never know as many people and make as much of an impression as she has on so many folks, not just locally, but all over the state of Georgia. I’ll never be as good to as many people who needed a hand as I know she has…but in my own way, I am trying to live a life that reflects the value of integrity that she taught me.

  I can only hope to live a life that is such an example for my own daughter. That’s what my mother did for her own mother. She lived the kind of life she was shown by my grandmother. If I can, then I will know I have given Momma the best gift she could ever want.

  So, I’ve decided this. The perfect Mother’s Day gift can’t be gift-wrapped. It won’t fit into a box because it’s as large as a life being lived. It can’t be stuffed in a gift bag because it’s as full as a mother’s heart with love for her child. It’s intangible, invisible, and yet ever-present.

  But it’s the kind of gift that keeps on giving, not just on Mother’s Day, but every single day of the year.

Rose Steedley Williams

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