“May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.”
Proverbs 5:18 (NIV)
When I was growing up, my parents didn’t choose professions that would afford our family a lavish lifestyle. My mom was the queen of frugal and could stretch a dollar farther than most. We never felt deprived and I learned to be content without the latest, greatest gadget or gizmo. My husband and I followed in their footsteps regarding our employment, choosing more family time versus a higher paycheck. While we are blessed to be able to enjoy far more than we deserve, we also try to live frugally.
It is with this mindset then, that when special occasions roll around on the calendar, my usual response is, “I don’t need anything. I’m happy just spending time with you and the kids and we can use that money toward… (fill in the blank depending upon the season).” And I really do mean that – I don’t need anything except time to create more memories with my family. I also feel badly because my birthday is about two weeks away from Mother’s Day so they are “celebrating me” and then two weeks later, “celebrating me again.”
One of my husband’s love languages is to give gifts. He loves to give people things and truly takes pleasure in choosing the perfect present that will speak to the recipient’s heart. However, when I know that money is stretched thin and someone always needs something, I have a hard time accepting that money being spent on me. But I don’t think it’s as much fun to give gifts to someone who feels guilty accepting them.
This morning I was reading an article in the Huffington Post which spoke about when people knew their marriage was over. It wasn’t really an article. It was 90 tweets, posts, etc. of polled people describing the circumstances surrounding when they knew they were headed for a divorce. There were a few themes that were consistent within the 90 responses and one of them was pure lack of treasuring the other person – whether by refusing to be with their spouse during an crisis in their life (death of parents, physical illness) or refusal to acknowledge birthdays, anniversaries, Mother’s Day, etc. at all.
That got me thinking. Why do I resist so much when my family wants to honor me by buying/making me something special? What I originally thought was a loving gesture (“I don’t need anything, let’s use that money for something else”) is not loving at all. With those words, I’m denying my family the joy of giving selflessly. That feels selfish to say but it’s true. And it’s wrong.
I decided that this year I’m changing my tune. I hadn’t given my annual speech yet of “I don’t need anything” and I’m not going to. We have a family tradition that we hold sacred every year on Mother’s Day and with this tradition, I truly feel honored, spoiled, and treasured. I honestly don’t need anything else, but whatever my family chooses to do, I’m going to hold it close to my heart and be grateful that I have a family who loves me enough to want to “celebrate me.”
And when my birthday rolls around in two weeks, I can’t wait to see what we do then too. Maybe we will do what we do every year and I would love that. It is, after all, one of my favorite things to do. I truly don’t need presents because my husband and my kids are my present every day. But, from now on, I’m going to let them choose how they want to “celebrate me.” And whatever they choose will be perfect.
So, today, if you are a mother, I would encourage you to allow your family to celebrate you. Remember, it’s okay to be spoiled by those who love you!
I would love to wish both my mom and my mom-by-marriage a wonderful Mother’s Day today! We are blessed that we get to continue to make memories with them not just on special occasions but all year long. I love you both so much!
© Cheri Swalwell