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On Mother's Day -- the gift of encouragement and gratitude

Mother's Day

I received an e-mail on my iPhone from my husband the Wednesday before Mother’s Day. It only had text in the subject line, and this is what it said: 

"Any special requests for Sunday?" 

How to react? I was stumped. Of course, I only look at my iPhone while I am doing something else, so I never know what frame of mind I will be in, and in fact, at that moment I was in a school meeting. 

Full of other moms. 

How exactly should I take this, I wondered -- knowing I couldn't multi-task this one. So I stopped listening to what was going on right there around me. 

It always helps me to put myself in my husband’s shoes – in fact during all of our conversations I am wearing his shoes. (And I am pretty sure he's wearing mine. But don't push this analogy too far gentle reader.) If we didn’t our marriage wouldn’t be the terrifically blessed union it is today. 

Basically, my husband wanted to cover his bases – remove the “b” and add an extra “s,” and you’ll really see what he wanted to cover. 

He didn’t want me to be disappointed. And I know I can be tough. As an only child whose birthday was like an annual centennial celebration, I often have high expectations. 

But often in these situations I usually say out loud (so both he and I can hear it): “No, it’s okay, you don’t need to get me anything.” And I want to believe that, but unfortunately when the day comes, I realize that I really didn’t mean it. 

Is it any wonder, he wants to cover his base(s)? 

Well, here’s my dream for this year on Mother’s Day. 

From my husband: An authentic, unrushed moment where he takes me aside and looks at me in the eyes, away from our screaming children and says something to the effect of: I love you; I could never do it without you; our children are very lucky to have you as their mother; I am so lucky to have found you as my wife; and you are beautiful. 

That’s really all I need: words. Sure a card is great, but then I look on the back and see how much he spent on it. Or a cookie is good, but then I realize that although I want to eat it, I am saving up for the honking big dessert bar I am getting after Mother’s Day dinner. Flowers are all right, but then I know he was price-gouged at the florist and doesn’t he realize that Mother’s Day is the most expensive day, after Valentine’s Day, to buy flowers?

From my kids: I used to want homemade cards, but can I be honest with you? Homemade cards in my house recently take three-and-a-half seconds to create. Wham-bam-thank-you-mom-can-I-go-on-the-computer? 

Are the roles reversed here? Can I ask my children to spend some TIME on me? (Whoa. I don’t think I want to touch that right now.) 

Yes, again that’s all I want. A small amount of time from each child, to come give me a bear hug -- and big, tight bear hug -- where they hold me and tell me they love me with the same passion I try to tell them every night before they go to bed. 

From myself: Yes, I'm told that this day is “all about me” but really, it is also about all about my mother and my mother-in-law, and my friends who are moms, and all the moms who are struggling to do the best they can with what they have.  

For all of us -- and as a reminder to myself -- I want to offer encouragement and gratitude: 

Mom, you are doing a great job. OK, maybe not every day. But most days. And maybe your path isn’t easy. In fact, life changes fast and you have to adjust. Just keep on holding on. There are so many people grateful for the incredible work you do, sometimes they forget to say thanks and can't appreciate you every second. 

This Mother's Day it is my dream to take some time to go outside, look up, be grateful for all that I have, and feel gratitude, in whatever form it takes, in return.

Jennifer Quasha is a writer and most recently the co-author of "Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Dog's Life: 101 Stories about the Ages and Stages of our Canine Companions" and "Chicken Soup of the Soul: My Cat's Life: 101 Stories about the Ages and Stages of our Feline Family Members." Check out her website at www.jenniferquasha.com.