Giving the gift of time

Monday, May 8, 2017

I got a text wishing me a "Happy Mother's Day" this past Sunday.

I laughed and realized again a hazard of being the mother of an only child and a son at that there's no one else to remind him of life's important dates. Or to tell him he's got that date wrong.

I'm one of seven siblings, so there are plenty of us around to remember our mother next Sunday. The cyber-phone tree will share ideas for gifts and testaments to what makes our mom special. We will honor mom on her special day.

But, I've realized that it's not the actions of one day that define our love for our mothers. It's the everyday attention, the wondrous "ordinary."

It's the call "just because" in the middle of the week.

The invitation to a special event.

The help in sorting through piles of photos or family memorabilia.

It's the loaf of my favorite apple bread and Dutch spice cookies my son always brought home when he returned from college, because he knew they were my favorites.

The greatest gift, my mom will tell you, is the one we don't give enough our time.

Chances are, your mom has too much "stuff" too many vases, and perfume and clothes. The thing she doesn't have enough of is time with her children.

Author Mitch Albom said it wonderfully, when speaking of a mother's devotion. "When you look at your mother, you are looking at the purest love you will ever know."

And it's the love that is easiest to take for granted. We know she'll always be there.

As I get older, I see so many of my friends lose their moms. Too many speak with regret about getting too caught up in the churning busyness of life that they didn't take the time to spend with their mothers as adults.

I am as guilty as any. With my parents two and a half hours away, it's hard to take a spontaneous trip. And, it's easy to justify absences with a busy work schedule.

But it's important to make the extra effort.

While I was one of a small herd, my mother can tell you special, unique characteristics about all of us, from our earliest childhood.

She took the time, even if she was tired, or harried, or anxious about one thing or another, to be there for all of us.

After what I call my "bonus year" with my son, as his AmeriCorps Vista year brought him to Elderbridge in Spencer following his college graduation, I'm facing his moving out day later this summer. He'll be starting out just a few hours from home, but farther than I am from my mom.

So I wonder. ...

Will he take the time for the calls, the silly texts, the visits that I have come to count on?

Or will he get involved in that busyness of life and put off those visits?

Who knows? But I know it's important to model the actions I want from my family time together.

This Mother's Day, I think I'll give myself a gift some time with Mom.