The Best Mother's Day Present I Never Got!
I watched him the garden…deep in thought, bending forward and inspecting the flower heads. Stopping and putting his hand on his chin, shaking his head “no” at this particular flower, while his teeth bit in to his lower lip. This kid was on a mission and clearly only the best would do. He went through this routine a few more times, until finally, he settled on one red tulip. He tugged gently at first, and then with more might to snap the stem and add this finishing touch to the handful of sunshine-yellow dandelions in his other hand. The bouquet was complete.
He entered quietly through the side door, unaware that I had been watching. Climbing onto the countertop, he grabs a glass that he thinks suitable to serve as a vase. He begins filling it with water, as the bouquet is laid gently on the counter.
“What ya doin’?” I ask.
“Putting these in some water,” he responds, matter of fact.
“What are they for?” I inquire.
“YOU!” he says, as if there should be no question.
Hugs and kisses ensue.
“Wow! I love them. I haven’t had a dandelion bouquet in a very long time. They happen to be my favorite!”
“I know,” he says with all the wisdom of his 10 years.
“Thanks for the early Mother’s Day Present,” I say, thinking that Mother‘s Day is only a few days away.
He scoots off to play, while I find a fitting place to display my great gift.
About 15 minutes later, he reappears. “Hey, mom…we’re making a Mother’s Day gift at school, but I think I want to give it to somebody else if that’s okay.
“Oh? Hmmmm…who else are you thinking of giving it to?”
“Scott and Sarah.” (His hockey coach and his wife)
“Okay…what makes you want to give it to them?”
“Well…they’re always so nice to me…and I thought maybe I could do something nice for them, too.”
(Scott and Sarah…the ones who have always believed in him…always supported him…and always expected more from him than he knew he was capable of giving. The hockey coach he had basically grown-up with and who provided just the right kind of guidance when his shenanigans were out of line. The hockey coach who cared enough about him to not let him get away with boyhood envelope-pushing capers. The hockey coach with whom he would sometimes go toe-to-toe, but who would never back down from him…intensity and all. The hockey coach whose good graces he always wanted to stay within. The hockey coach who he will miss very much when our family relocates at the end of this summer. A significant person in his life. Someone he cares about. Someone who cares about him back.)
My heart melts into a puddle of happiness, joy and pride all mixed into one. In that moment, I got the best Mother’s Day present, ever. The kind that can’t be stored in a box or put on a shelf. One that can’t be sprayed on or worn…but rather, stays in your heart forever. To see that the years of teaching kindness and compassion and “paying it forward” really had taken root. That he trusted that I would be okay with him surrendering the coveted hand-made “Mother’s Day” gift to somebody else. That he trusted that the love between us would still be there, even though he would have no gift to give me.
No, I didn’t get to open that fabulously lime-green tissue-wrapped gift, complete with a yellow bow. I got a much bigger present. The gift of knowing that everything I hoped to see in him as a person was now shining through. Compassion. Kindness. Caring. Sharing. Love. Paying it Forward. Giving back. All of it was right there before my eyes. A gift that’s intangible, but one of the biggest gifts of all!
And that makes this the “Best Mother’s Day Present I Never Got“!