Saturday, May 08, 2010

In Anticipation Of Mother's Day

I wrote this post in 2008 but it still holds true... read on.

Proverbs 31:28, “Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.”

I received my annual Mother’s Day call from one of my friends a few moments ago. Her call was a reminder of a past Mother’s Day—a day that will live on in infamy in my mind. Not because it was an awesome Mother’s Day, but because it was a horrible Mother’s Day. Let me set the stage for you: I woke up that morning and wandered out into the den where my family—I was certain—was waiting to shower me with gifts and sing my praises. Instead, I found no cards, no flowers, and everyone seemed too preoccupied with getting ready for church to even remember to say something to me. I felt like the character in Sixteen Candles; only instead of forgetting my birthday—they had forgotten Mother’s Day.

We went to church with me silently stewing. I was not prepared for the gauntlet of friends I had to run by at church who oh-so-kindly shared with me what their families had done for them that morning. “What did your family do for you?” they innocently asked. I just shook my head and took my seat in the sanctuary. I was embarrassed that my family didn’t care enough to remember my special day. I was angry that I had been overlooked by the very people who professed to love me most. I grumbled to God throughout much of the service and made vows that I would absolutely not make my husband’s Father’s Day special. So there.

Once we got home, I got busy trying to get an ordinary lunch ready for the family—all the while wondering where my special Mother’s Day lunch was. Finally, I snapped. I yelled and screamed about how horrible my day had been. I blamed my husband for not taking the lead. And then I went to my room and cried.

God met with me there in that room. He got my attention by showing me how out of whack my attitude had been. If He had called me to motherhood—with all the service and self-sacrifice that entailed—then why did I feel I deserved a day just for me? Why did I let the retailers and the culture build up my expectations to a place of total unreality? Why didn’t I instead turn to Jesus’ humble servant’s heart and say, “This is not about me. Even today, this is still about You.” If He is truly my model, then why did I let go of that and turn the focus on myself just because of a date on the calendar?

In the end, my sheepish husband and children snuck off to Walmart to get me some hanging baskets I had been wanting, and they ordered my favorite Chinese takeout for dinner that night. In trying to salvage the day, I saw their love for me displayed. I also faced the reality of the fact that at that point in our lives, a lavish gift and expensive restaurant meal just wasn’t financially possible. My expectations had not met with my reality, and I played the victim to the hilt. Shame on me. I resolved that in the future I needed to lay all my expectations down and wait on God to surprise me, as His surprises are so much better.

Later that night I was talking with a friend and she asked how my Mother’s Day had been. I told her it had not been a good day. She replied, “Did it involve locking yourself in the bathroom, running a bath and then crying your eyes out? Because that’s how my Mother’s Day went.” In that instant, I realized I was not alone. From that conversation, my friends and I resolved that perhaps we should not place so many expectations on our poor families. Perhaps we should instead make our own Mother’s Day plans, and let our husbands off the hook. So that is just what we did.

And so, this year my friends and I are getting a plan together for how we are going to spend our Mother’s Day. We have chosen a great chick flick to sneak off to in the afternoon, then on to a nice dinner and perhaps a latte afterwards. Our husbands are breathing a collective sigh of relief and our children are learning that sometimes mommy needs a little R&R just like everybody else. But then again, mommy doesn’t expect it or act like a diva about it. I will always remember the Mother’s Day I got an attitude adjustment and will try to keep this day in perspective in the years to come. In the end, that has made Mother’s Day at our house much happier
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Ang said...

Happy Mothers Day!

My husband has been deployed three times since the war began. Two times those deployments have been in very unsafe areas. He struggles with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. We have good, okay, bad, and really bad days. Our anniversary is on New Years Day. Christmas Day, New Years Eve, and January second were all okay days. Thanksgiving and our anniversary were horrible days. Having a horrible day on our anniversary when the day before and after were okay was difficult for me. God reminded me a few days after our anniversary that each day can be our anniversary. We do not need to just celebrate the day we got married but can celebrate it each day. Each day, each breath, each heartbeat are gifts. For Mothers Day I ask the boys and my husband to not do anything or buy me anything. To me each day is Mothers Day. I am so thankful and blessed by my boys that each day is mothers day and a gift from Him.

Anonymous said...

This makes me laugh every time I read it. I still wake up and hope I married the hallmark man, but God didn't wire him that way. But, the kids are getting older now, there's a new hope on the horizon.
I love ya girl. If not one more sole tells you, I hope you have a great Mothers Day. You are the bomb diggitty of a mother and I admire you!
Love forever,
your forever friend,

Karin Katherine said...

So beautiful, and true. I included a link to this post on my blog.

Tami said...

Marybeth, you are so very right. It is our expectations that need to be changed. I know that my husband and children love me 365 days a year. I don't need an expensive gift or cards on Mother's Day to tell me that. Thanks for sharing your story!

Stacey said...

I appreciated reading this. I don't expect a fancy day and I know we can't afford lavish gifts. All I wanted yesterday was the boys not to fight..and they church, amd I was mortified. I cried a bunch yesterday, out of embarrassment and sadness. All I want every single day is for them to be examples of God's love..and boy did I feel a failure. (And I told them just that.) Hopefully, they heard me. :)

Lisa V. said...

I posted the same thing on Lysa Terkeurt's blog which is... I'm still working on this. But I TOTALLY agree. We need to leave our expectations (or dare I say sense of entitlement?) at the door. I'm BLESSED to be a mom. And my husband never would deny me doing something for myself. He would breathe a BIG OLE sigh of relief if he knew he could be "off the hook". Ok, I still want a card... which I didn't get this year =(... but next year FOR SURE I'm making plans to do something wonderfully for myself and as always, thank my God that He gave me the gift of being a Mom.