[For the purpose of this post, my son would like to be referred to as John.]
Money has been really tight lately. Mike and I both work, but we’re maintaining two households and trying to save money for all the immigration fees. One of the ways I recently cut back was to stop giving John his weekly allowance. He was disappointed, but he understands the reason and knows that things won’t be this way for ever. He’s also happy to do whatever it takes to get his dad here as soon as possible.
As many of you probably know, this past Sunday was Mother’s Day in the U.S. Since John no longer gets an allowance, he didn’t have money to spend on a gift for me. Now, I have never been the kind of person who expects or demands gifts. I absolutely despise the concept of compulsory gift giving. If someone gives me something, I want it to be because he really wants to, and not because he feels obligated. Otherwise, how meaningful can the gift possibly be?
John is generous and loving, and he would have been happy to buy me something if he had still been getting an allowance. But the fact that he was flat broke didn’t stop him from giving me a gift that I will cherish for the rest of my life. And it was completely his own idea!
When I woke up the morning of Mother’s Day, John told me to take my coffee into his room and use his laptop to check email, blogs, etc. He knows I like to do this first thing; it’s a quiet way to wake up and clear the early morning cobwebs. Needless to say, I gladly took him up on this.
While I was safely tucked away in John’s room, he straightened up the entire house. He even vacuumed! When he was finished with everything, he came to get me and gave me a tour of the house; there was a surprise for me in each room:
In the kitchen, John had set a lovely breakfast table, complete with cereal, milk, fruit, sweet rolls and orange juice in wine glasses. We would sit down together as soon as the tour was over.
In the living room, on top of the television, he had propped up our favorite comedy movie that we only ever watch together. We would sit down some time in the afternoon, and share a big bowl of popcorn while watching it for the millionth time. Neither of us ever grow tired of it.
In my bedroom, John had turned back the duvet, propped my pillows against the headboard and arranged my heating pad there for my back. Leaned up against my pillows were two Dr. Seuss books that we hadn’t read together in ages. One of them had actually been one of my own childhood favorites which I had passed on to him. The plan was that I would read it to him before bed that night. I had been reading to John every night since he was a baby, and he had recently decided that he was too big for that, so this was a very special treat for me.
We went back to the kitchen and had a nice breakfast. Afterwards, I had another cup of coffee, he had a hot chocolate, and we just sat and talked. When we had finished, he cleared up the dishes and put the leftover food away.
A couple of weeks earlier, we had both been invited to a neighbor’s house for a Mother’s Day cookout. There would be lots of kids there, a trampoline, a swimming pool and a piñata. He had been looking forward to this party from the day he first heard about it. Unfortunately, I had injured my back (I have some chronic problems with that) and would not be able to attend.
I hated for John to be stuck in the house just because I couldn’t go out, so I suggested that he go while the kids were there. Afterward, he and I could pick up where we had left off. I could see that he felt torn, so I assured him that it would be fine; that I would spend the time writing – something he knows I enjoy very much. That seemed to comfort him. He went out to play with his friends while I spent those few hours writing to my heart’s content.
John returned sometime mid-afternoon. We had an early dinner, cleaned up together, and decided that it was time to watch What About Bob. We popped some corn, started the movie, and laughed all the way through it, as usual. We even laugh at ourselves for being able to quote all the best lines ahead of time.
We decided to get an early night, so he took his shower and we both got ready to settle in for the night. He brought his pillow into my room, and curled up next to me in preparation for story time. We read Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book and Horton Hears A Who. I loved both of them when I was a kid, but the Sleep Book was my favorite.
Just when I was about to call it a night, send John to his room and get to sleep early, he had one last surprise in store for me. He lifted his pillow, and under it was a little book that I had purchased and started reading to him when he was only five months old. The book is Kate Gleeson’s Wonderful You. It had been special to us for years, but he outgrew it quite a while back and wouldn’t let me read it to him anymore. Reading this precious story to him again was the perfect ending to a perfect day.
My wonderful son had given me the gift of time. He gave his time by cleaning and preparing the house for a very special day. He gave me time to do something I love doing while he spent time with his friends. We spent time together laughing and being silly, and then reading together. Then he topped it off by taking me back in time, allowing me to read this little “baby book”.
John was thoughtful, and loving, and he gave from his heart a gift that can ‘t be lost, broken, stolen or otherwise taken from me. I will cherish it for ever.
In closing, and in honor of my precious child, I will share our special story with you:
by Kate Gleeson
One Day Big Bear said to Small Bear,
There’s something you should know:
I made a wish and you came true, and now I love you so.
You’re the colors of my rainbow,
The honey in my tea.
You’re butterflies and lullabies,
You’re everything to me!
You’re bright blue skies on sunny days,
When we take a walk at noon.
You’re shooting stars on summer nights,
You’re a ring around the moon.
Let’s hug the trees and ride the breeze,
Let’s gather stars and share them.
We’ll talk to birds and learn their words,
We’ll string some shells and wear them.
Let’s name the clouds and dream out loud,
Let’s ask a fox to tea.
We’ll thank the sun, and just for fun,
We’ll wave to bumblebees.
You are my child, my precious one – special in every way.
I’m filled with wonder of wonderful you,
And I love you more each day!
To my Precious One:
Thank you for making Mother’s Day the best day I’ve had in quite some time. I will cherish it for the rest of my life.
I love you!