I have a question for all the mothers out there. What comes to mind when you are asked about your favorite Mother’s Day gift or tradition? For most of us it is probably something very simple. Mother’s Day is synonymous with breakfast in bed, hand picked flowers, finger paintings, and sloppy kisses. Mother’s Day gifts are rarely store-bought because the best ones come straight from the heart.
In the early years, it’s usually up to dear old Dad to make sure we aren’t forgotten. It doesn’t take much to make us feel loved. Any day we can put up our feet and listen to thank you’s is special. The memories of hand-made cards and the burnt toast served by chubby little hands will always be etched in our memories.
As time passes and our children reach the teen years, we are touched to find out that the act of planting those early seeds has blossomed into our children coming up with their own ways to express their love to us on the annual holiday. The coffee mugs made in pottery class, the marigold ready for planting in the backyard, and the homemade cookies baked just a pinch past perfection are proudly given, and we are touched that these hormonal teens have taken a break from their text messages and Facebook posts to sit down and spend a few minutes to say, “I love you, Mom.”
Through the years, I’ve always been pleasantly surprised by the creativity that has gone into the gifts bestowed upon me for Mother’s Day, but to be honest, I always knew those gifts were coming. With the Hallmark commercials and the Mother’s Day specials advertised all over town, our children and our husbands would have to be living in a shoebox to miss the fact that Mother’s Day was coming. I never knew for sure, but I always felt certain that I was going to, at the very least, receive a card or be taken out to lunch.
It goes without saying that my favorite Mother’s Day memory of all time was totally unexpected. It came all the way from the Middle East and it came two days early. My son, who was deployed to Iraq for the second time, called me to tell me I needed to check my email. I was fully expecting a wish list of items that he wanted me to send to him in his next care package, but much to my surprise, when I opened my email, I found the most amazing Mother’s Day gift ever! The moment I saw the photo of my beautiful boy holding the cardboard sign wishing me “Happy Mother’s Day,” I burst into tears.
There was nothing more beautiful in the entire world than to see that my boy, who was deployed to a war zone, had the forethought to figure out how to make me feel special for Mother’s Day. I wouldn’t have even expected him to know it was Mother’s Day. In fact, the year before, during his first deployment, he was outside the wire and had no idea Mother’s Day had come and gone. I never told him he missed it because he had much more important things on his mind.
Maybe his platoon sergeant ordered him to remember Mother’s Day. I didn’t know and I didn’t care! What I did know was that my brave Marine was halfway across the globe and he still loved his mom! My heart filled with Marine Mom pride and I showed that photo to everyone I knew.
It’s been six years since I received this gift but I guess I’m still able to find a way to show it off. I think it’s worth sharing because it speaks for the many who are out on the front lines right now and simply not able to say “I love you” this year with a card or a phone call.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the military moms past and present. You’ve raised children who stepped up to sacrifice and serve their nation so you must have done something right!