But this year is different.
I have a healthy, adorable, smart, funny grandma who lives an hour away. I visited her today while the kids were in school. Being with her infused me with wise, cross-generational “aren’t we lucky, even though the first years with small children are challenging, they’re a blip in the grand stretch of your life” perspective. Being grateful to have her makes a pretty nice Mother’s Day.
I have a healthy, sassy, energetic, interesting mom who lives an hour away. I saw her last week and will see her again for Mother’s Day. That’s a pretty freaking big deal after having lived the first two years of my son’s life in an isolated pocket of Hell (Los Angeles). Being grateful to have her, too, makes an increasingly sweet Mother’s Day.
And I somehow stumbled onto the best idea ever for a Mother’s Day gift. Beginning a few years ago, I forced my husband to engage in this ritual with my kids:
Buy or find the prettiest, smoothest rocks you can get your hands on. If possible, send partner and kids to beach by themselves to collect rocks.
Take dictation from children in Sharpie on the rocks after asking them, “What do you love about Mommy?”
Keep writing their answers on rocks until they have no more interest.
Have children decorate a plain box (wood, cardboard, glass, whatever). As big or little as you want.
Put rocks in box and hand them over on Mother’s Day.
Throughout the year and whenever I want, I can reach in and read a reason, in my sons’ own words, why I’m the best mom they’ve ever had.
And I can’t wait to see what they write this year. Really. That “thanks for cake” rock is begging for a “thanks for 1,092 healthy meals a year” companion. We’ll see.
Mother’s Day. It’s not about sleeping in (as if), or breakfast in bed (ew, the cleanup), or peace and quiet (insert uncomfortable laughter at the realization that it’s never going to happen).
It’s about asking your kids (and partner if you have one) to make the present you want. And need.
And since they can’t build a Krasinski/Rudd/Fiennes/Gosling four-sided hologram, have them build you a box of love notes.