I’m always embarrassed when I enter the checkout line at Trader Joe’s. It’s a small store with small buggies, and I roll in with a cart overflowing. My grocery items made known I was indeed a mother, so the checkout girl scanned item after never-ending item and asked, “So how is your Mother’s Day so far?”
I’m sure she was expecting a complaint. After all, I was at the grocery store, not exactly a massage or pedicure. She asked with hesitation, holding her breath anticipating my response.
“You know, my children are alive, they are breathing, I have three boys. I couldn’t have a better Mother’s Day.” The young man bagging my groceries paused, glanced up, and continued stuffing bags. “It’s neat you look at it like that.”
I wanted to say more to this young man, but I knew if I opened my mouth, he might get more than he bargained for. Like a 38-year-old woman crying over realizing she is ungratefully blessed most days.
Mother’s Day. If I had spent much time on Facebook, I may have been tempted to feel cheated out of “my” day. Selfish, right? I would be lying if I didn’t admit there were a few moments I felt that twinge of jealousy that another mother was being pampered while my day felt just like every other day.
That is when the Holy Spirit spoke louder.
Another day of this. This life of laundry, groceries, church, baseball games, arguing, laughing, crying, tasting, feeling, moving. Life. Happy Mother’s Day! That’s the moment I understood. The celebration is in the ordinary.
I didn’t need to be showered with gifts, pampered with affection, or catered to. I had this day, this life, these children. This is my gift.
I thought back over the morning. Beautiful graces all morning long. A sweet note tucked in my purse from one son, another son clearing away piles from the stairs – without being asked, a husband writing me precious words and jumping to do all he could to show me he appreciates what I do.
So I battled in my mind, which is where the fight for peace happens. I stilled the shouts of the world, and listened for the voice of the Holy Spirit.
Surrounded by blessings almost missed. Like any other day, I’m always tempted to miss the biggest blessings right in front of my eyes. A smile, a hug, a kiss, a breath.
When I took my eyes off of myself and placed them on God, my eyes were opened to the blessings in an ordinary day called Mother’s Day.
Steve apologized several times for what he felt was a “not-so-great” Mother’s Day. I couldn’t disagree with him more. It was the best Mother’s Day of my life. Simply because it was an ordinary day. The gift of one more day to do this thing called mothering.
And just like God, He waited until the end of the evening, after speaking into my heart, really getting into those deep places and moving me, to give me another Mother’s Day gift. A simple moment with my son.
Steve was upstairs reading to Andrew. Zachary was listening to Narnia I’m sure, Jacob was outside, and I cleaned the kitchen. The house was a complete wreck. The screen door opened, and Jacob peeked his head inside, “Hey, mom, can you come pitch to me.”
I glanced at the dishes in the dishwasher, the ones in the sink, the food needing to be wrapped, baseball clothes strewn all over the place. Grass clippings making trails through the kitchen.
The mess isn’t going anywhere, but he is. He is growing up. I never know when the last time I’ll hear the words “Mom, will you pitch to me?” might come. So when the invitation arrives, I will accept.
I pitched, we laughed. I’m not good, and I’m scared of the ball. He’s ok with that. We sat on the driveway. An ordinary moment. The chatting began. He told story after story. I asked no questions. Just listened and laughed. No nagging, no prodding, no arguing. An absolute treasure of a gift.
He heard another brother approaching, and I saw the disappointment in his eyes as he realized our private time was coming to an end. No earth shattering conversations. Just ordinary.
The day was exactly the day the Lord had made.
Because the day was simple, I was able to receive the gift the Lord had for me in those simple moments that I will hold onto forever. Moments that might not have happened. An understanding that wouldn’t have come.
When I take my eyes off me, I see Him, and I see the gifts that parade in the dailies of my life.
My mother’s day was an ordinary day, which made it the best Mother’s Day possible.
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