The Best Gifts
Eleven years ago, JB knelt in front of me while I was nursing our newborn daughter, and handed me my first Mother's Day card. Before it happened, I used to imagine how I would feel—I thought it would mean so much, that I would be thrilled to be part of this club.
But the tears that leaked from my eyes had nothing to do with happiness. The gift card to the mall, so I could buy whatever made me feel good, would never be able to do that. I was exhausted and overwhelmed and feeling like a fraud.
I loved my baby, of course. But the reward and glowing satisfaction that epitomized Mother's Day eluded me. I didn't feel worthy of any acknowledgement. I wasn't good enough.
I can remember making the hand print artwork that my own mom still keeps in her bedside table. I felt so much love and was so proud that she was mine.
And sitting in that chair, with my husband and brand new daughter, I was frozen with the thought that she might not feel the same. I cried when she cried. I cringed when she woke up right after I had spent an hour getting her to sleep. I reddened when I couldn't comfort her in public places.
How could she feel anything for me but shortchanged?
Of course, I couldn't have known how much better it would get; how much better I would get.
I couldn't have imagined how it would feel to be on the receiving end of my own hand print.
If you asked me to tell you about the gifts I've received since that first Mother's Day, I couldn't give you an answer. I don't remember a single one. But I know I've been unwrapping homemade cards and gifts for over a decade, and many times they come to me on ordinary days.
They find their way to my pillow or the top of my desk, when I'm not looking, and they tell me that my children see me. Good enough, even great.
If you're a mama or mama-to-be, who is quietly wondering if you're worthy of a day of celebration, let me remind you that you are. If you're doing your best to be good enough, then you are great—especially in the eyes of the only ones who matter.
I've come so far from my earliest days, and I've learned to embrace my failings, because it makes me a better parent. And instead of worrying whether my children love me enough, I show them that I love myself—and I do because of them.
Happy Mother's Day to all of you.
Today and every day.