My mother passed away over twenty years ago, and I still think of her every single day. As Mother’s Day approaches year after year, I always take the opportunity to reflect more closely on her mothering and my daughtering. Though neither of us was perfect, she was a great mother and I like to think I was a pretty good daughter, but to be honest, it took her passing to make me realize there are things I wish I had done differently. Especially on Mother’s Day. So, with the wisdom of retrospect, here is a short list of things I wish I could give my mom for Mother’s Day if she were here today.

  1. I would give her the gift of actually asking her what she wanted for Mother’s Day. Nothing doesn’t really mean nothing! It’s surprising to me as I think about it now, that I honestly don’t remember ever asking my mom what she really wanted for Mother’s Day! I always thought I could come up with something she would like or at least would say she liked. I’m ashamed to say there were those years when Dad would ask and she would say “nothing” and I would believe her and I would come to the Mother’s Day table empty handed. Of course, she never said anything, but I have a pretty good hunch that deep down she was disappointed and probably even pretty sad. Now I know that no mother ever really wants “nothing” for Mother’s Day. If my mom was still here, I’d ask, I’d make her tell me, I would pay close attention, and I would deliver!
  2. I would give her the gift of being interested in her as a person, not just as my mom. Moms are people, too! When it comes down to it, the parent/child relationship doesn’t naturally lend itself to being equal in anything. Good parents always give and sacrifice in ways that can’t be reciprocated, and that’s okay. I believe it’s that way by design. Now that he has a child of his own, our son, Brydon, finally admits that when I say “I love you more” I am right! He gets it now – the mystery and depth of parental love. But because of the responsibilities that are inherent in that love, it can be very difficult for a child to ever see their mother as anything but just their mother. That was me. When I was born – like every child – I took over the world!  And somehow, even into adulthood, I assumed that mom’s world should revolve around me and mine. I never really acknowledged that she had her own world, too. She had hopes, fears, and dreams. She had friends and favorite things. She was a complex human being full of wisdom won with years of life experience. In the first few months after mom died, I painfully realized how little I actually knew about her. To this day, I can’t even tell you what her favorite color was! There are so many things I wish I knew. There are so may questions I would ask her now! So today if my mom was still here, I’d be interested in her – not the mom her, but the human her. I would make time in my busy world to try to step into hers. I would do my best to break down any walls and provide a safe space for her to talk about herself. I would listen with genuine curiosity, and I would take notes for future reference!
  3. I would give her the gift of those three magical words, “I love you.” Did you notice I said three? Not two. Not just “love you.” Let’s be honest, “love you” is too easy. It’s too safe and common. That “I” is so important. It’s a deeper level of expression and vulnerability. I wasn’t very good at saying “I love you” to my mom. Of course she just knew I loved her, right? Now, I’m not so sure. If my mom was still here, I wouldn’t leave that up to chance. I’d say “I love you, Mom” a whole lot more. I’d say it every day. And when I was physically in her presence, I would accompany it with a long “thank you for giving me my life, and thank you for giving to me my whole life” kind of hug.

Giving these simple kind of gifts can be the hardest, especially when it comes to moms, but take it from me, you’ll never regret it! This Mother’s Day, if you are blessed to still have your mom here, open up your heart, open up your mind, and open up your time. Try giving these three gifts. If you are like me and your mom is no longer with you, give yourself some grace over the things you didn’t do. I’m pretty sure that in true “mom” fashion, your mother understands, she forgives you, and she still loves you more!

To all the moms out there, I hope you have the best Mother’s Day ever!


With deep love,

Andrea Brett