With Mother’s Day just behind us and Father’s Day looming in the near future, I often get a flood of memories of past holidays. I think of the little handmade card I made for my mother and the bookmark shaped like a tie for my dad. I smile as I remember the loud whispering, giggling and occasional clanging of dishes as my girls prepared breakfast in bed for me on Mother’s Day. The holidays are a wonderful way to honor and remember our mothers and the memories are priceless. However, I believe that we make memories for ourselves and our children every single day of the year.
When I found myself the mother of 3 children under the age of 5 years of age, including a baby who was sick more than she was well, it was easy to feel overwhelmed. There were times when nothing got done, everyone was unhappy at the same time and I didn’t feel like a very good mother. The experience taught me to change my focus. I started living in the present. I let go of things that I thought that I “should” be doing like cleaning my house and making elaborate meals from scratch. I became more spontaneous. Instead of saying, I’ll be right there (after a 15 minute phone conversation, paying the bills and making a shopping list), I would stop what I was doing and take a moment to see the Lego castle or play Candyland.
I found that living in the present and making memories every day was especially important with a sick child. Our days were full of little disappointments: not being able to go outside and play, missing events and holiday celebrations and lacking the energy to enjoy much more than staring at the TV. I found that having a child with a chronic illness gave us a special bond. I read a boatload of books to my daughter; we talked more, shared more and focused on the moment together. We found that we could celebrate without attending a party, find joy and laughter from a silly word or a shared idea. We could fill a tub with fresh snow and build a snowman without going outside.
So I hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day with memories of hugs and little handmade cards. I also hope you will celebrate today and every day with your child. Your child is watching and taking it all in. These memories will last forever.