The Very Best Mother’s Day Gift You Can Give to Yourself

As Sunday quickly approaches, there’s a gift I think you need this Mother’s Day. It’s a gift you can give yourself and it’s a gift that can change your life. It’s the gift of receiving.

Let me illustrate with a simple story. Last Saturday we had a barn-raising…(or at least a very large, barn-styled shed raising.) We worked hard all day long and by nightfall it was finished.

As we crawled into bed with sore muscles and drooping eyelids, I was grateful for our late Sunday meetings the next day that wouldn’t start until 1:00. It would give us a little extra time to sleep in.

But children don’t usually conform to our sleeping-in desires and my daughter bounced into our room bright and early Sunday morning announcing that there was a rainbow outside. In all of her exuberant, sweet 5-year-oldness she excitedly exclaimed, “Mommy, I can see it from the window upstairs! It’s so big and so beautiful! You HAVE to come see it!!”

I was still half asleep and trying to open my eyes. Morning had come much too quickly. In my groggy voice I told her, “Mommy’s just trying to wake up sweetheart. Maybe you could take a picture of it with my phone and come show me?”

She reluctantly agreed, grabbed my phone, and dashed back upstairs, only to return a few minutes later with tears in her eyes. “It’s gone Mommy. You missed it. When I went to take a picture, it had faded away.” She sadly showed me the three pictures she captured — none of which displayed a rainbow.

I look back on this experience with a broken heart that I missed out on sharing this precious moment with my only daughter. She had invited me to witness a special gift from heaven, and I had foolishly slept through it.

Later that day, when my mind and body were more alert, I realized my mistake and felt crushed. I took her aside and told her how sorry I was for missing the rainbow and promising that next time she saw one, I would rush to share the moment with her. She frankly forgave me (as all children do), and happily skipped off to play.

But the missed opportunity has been on my mind ever since.

I think we mothers have a few bad habits. The first is focusing too much on all the giving away we do everyday {my post yesterday sheds new light on this}. This near-sighted focus on all the giving away can deplete us faster than we’d care to admit, causing us to miss out on all the gifts our children are giving so naturally in return for all the giving we give to them.

The second bad habit is “sleeping through” the moments. And it’s not always sleeping. Sometimes we are distracted with our phones or social media; other times we are so anxious and stressed with the challenges of life, that we fail to receive the gifts our children so eagerly give.

Maybe it’s time we shifted our focus to noticing and receiving all the grace that comes because we’re mothers.

If we could borrow heaven’s vision as we open our eyes to the sun each morning, maybe we could see more clearly all of the ways that our children give to us:

The heartfelt hugs and sticky kisses.

The adorable crayon cards and painted pictures.

The good morning smiles.

The sincere compliments of “Mommy, you are so beautiful,” or “This is the best dinner I’ve ever had.”

The genuine “I love you’s” in their sweet, tender voices.

Their smiles all lit up as they open up gifts we pick out so carefully.

The dandelion bouquets.

The giggles when we tickle them.

Their sweet, pleading eyes when they ask for just one more story, and the way they cuddle up to us as we give in.

Their sleepy eyes as we stroke their hair and sing them a lullaby.

The water droplets on their eyelashes during bathtime and the way their hair suds up all soapy.

Their tiny, chubby hands holding ours as we cross the street.

The times they interrupt our important, yet not-so-important to-do list with “Mommy, look at this!”

The times they notice our furrowed brow and ask us what’s wrong, then write us letters or look for little things to do to cheer us up.

The way their eyes dance as they show us a cloud. or a rock. or a bug. or a puddle.

All of the ways that they give us the rainbows.


The point is, if we’re not paying attention, these tiny moments pass us by, and someday we look back with regret. Don’t let them pass by without savoring each one, even if only for a moment. These little things are the gifts our children are gifting us moment after moment after moment. Let us receive them. And receive them with joy. For they are the tenderest of mercies from our loving Heavenly Father given to us through our dear, special children.

And maybe, at the end of the long days, we could look back on the hours and acknowledge that yes, we gave much…but our children gave to us as well — from the very depths of their innocent hearts. And maybe, just maybe, by counting all these gifts, a smile would reach across our face as we drift off to sleep, giving us the courage, strength, and excitement to begin again the next day’s adventure of giving and receiving…

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