My daughter decided to give me her Mother’s Day Gift on Tuesday. When I picked her up from school, she hopped into the car with a stapled white bag. As soon as she buckled her seat belt, she said, “Momma, Happy Mother’s Day!” I tried to tell her Mother’s Day is Sunday, not today, but she insisted I open her gift. I asked her a few questions about Mother’s Day and what she thought it meant, and she said, “My teacher told us that our mothers work hard for us and so we should work hard and do something nice for them.”

I smiled as she said this. As I opened the bag, I saw her eyes get wider and wider. I reached into the bag and pulled out a pink construction paper card, with a big heart, and inside I saw the words, “Happy Mother’s Day! I love you.”  Inside there was a box that had a heart, that said “I Love You Mom!” with blue and pink sparkles on it. On the back of it, there was a pin. She crafted a heart brooch.

“Look Mommy, it’s a pin. You can wear it. Wear it now!” she commanded me to put in on and of course, there was no hesitation on my part. I slipped it on and for the remainder of the day, my daughter kept asking, “Do you love your gift, Momma ?”  I told her this little heart made me so happy and I gave her two kisses on each cheek and held her close.

I’m wondering if I will remember this exchange twenty years from now. This thought comes to mind because my own mother asked me the other day if her own life has meaning. My mom never worked outside of the house and has spent most of her life caring for others. She does what she can, but sometimes I’m not appreciative of all of the good aspects of who she is. I am a constant critic and more than once I’ve been hard on my mom. Since she lives with us, sometimes my words speak of frustration. I take her for granted. I know that. But I want her to know that she, her presence has meaning. That she shouldn’t underestimate the value of motherhood.

I will always remember her asking me if I’ve eaten, if I’ve gotten enough sleep and in unexpected moments, she tells me, she is proud of me. There are times those eating and sleep questions annoy me, but in reality, my mother is the only one who will ask those questions of me. And when her voice isn’t part of my day to day life, I will miss it. I anticipate that a dull ache will be forever a part of my life.

Mom, I love you. I want you to remember all of the crafts, pictures and gifts both R and I have given you. Because as much as you may have forget those moments, they have meaning. And so does your presence, even though I may not always acknowledge it.

Happy Mother’s Day to my mom, who in her own way gives my life meaning.