In past years my boys and I have gone all out to celebrate Mother’s Day. We’ve created films, audio CDs, stories, poems, and musical performances for her. We’ve made her breakfast in bed, and gone out of our way to behave for 24 hours (sometimes, sadly, unsuccessfully). But the truth of the matter is that Mother’s Day has always required extensive planning and involvement on my part.
This year I decided to remove myself from the process. I put the boys in a room and said they couldn’t come out until they came up with a Mother’s Day plan. Twenty minutes later they emerged with several concepts.
“What’s the plan?” I asked.
“We’ve got three ideas,” their spokesperson Sean said. “Idea #1—let her sleep in.”
“That’s not going to work,” I pointed out. “You have an early soccer game and she wants to see it.”
“OK,” he said, pointing to another finger. “Idea #2—no fighting all day long between Johnny & me.”
“Unless you’re expecting God’s intervention,” I said, “that may not be possible.”
Sean nodded his head. “Good point. Well then idea #3 is to make her dinner. Just us, without any help from you.”
That actually sounded like a good idea to me, so I gave it my blessing. It turned out to be even better than I thought. When Bridget read her card on Mother’s Day morning and found out what the plan was, she embraced it wholeheartedly.
“Let’s plan a menu,” she said. “Let’s all do this together.”
She and the boys planned the menu, went grocery shopping together, divided up the duties, invited my mother and sister to come join us, and pulled it all off beautifully.
Sean manned the grill. Johnny handled the starches (noodles for them and rice for the grown ups). Tommy made the salad. It was a truly delicious meal, but it was much better than that.
It made their mother very happy. She had a big smile on her face all night. They gave her something she really wanted more than anything else. They gave her their time.
After dinner we played cards together as a family without the usual “No Fair!” blow-ups, and after cards the boys even helped clean up the kitchen.
I know it doesn’t sound like much, but it really was one of the most delightful days I can remember.