The Greatest Gift of All

It’s been a long, exhausting, unrelenting week. Our harsh, brutal winter has continued to hang around, bringing bouts of cold wind, rain, and even a few miscellaneous snowflakes. The barren trees have yet to bloom. Yet there are signs of life’s rebirth and rejuvenation. The birds are back. I hear them singing their beautiful, glorious, celebratory songs outside my bedroom window every morning at dawn. The light of the sun, when it does break free out from the clouds, feels different than before. It is more alive and brighter and when it does appear, it warms my soul and brings life to the world. We are still in that strange, confusing phase where spring is playing tricks on us. One minute, it is there in all its glory, sun shining, birds singing and buds blooming before your very eyes. Then the next minute, it disappears, behind the gray, dark clouds and rain thirsty land.

As a stay at home mom of two extremely active and busy kids (aged 4 and 6), it is actually ironic that I have even noticed that it is almost Mother’s Day and the leaves have yet to bloom. Where on earth do I have the time to sit and ponder about the absence of spring and wonder when it will every arrive? Furthermore, how can I actually sit here and daydream about the great joys and revitalization that spring brings to us hearty Minnesotans each year. Easy! I’m a stay at home mom, meaning I am in my house or out and about each and every day of my life, facing the elements and watching nature change before my eyes. It would be impossible to miss. Yet for some funny reason I seemed to miss spring every season when I worked. I seemed to miss a lot of things that I took for granted when I worked.

As Mother’s Day approaches, of course everyone asks “What are you doing for Mother’s Day”? “Are you doing anything special”? “What do you want to get?”. For me I don’t want a trip to the spa (but of course that sounds phenomenal!), or a huge brunch at a fancy restaurant or some kind of beautifully wrapped present. At almost forty, it is easy to see that I have the greatest gift of all. The best thing possible. I have my kids. (Yes of course my husband counts too…without him, we wouldn’t have our close, tight-knit family of four).

Somehow we survived the brutal Minnesota winter with over 82 inches of snow….but we had fun!

There are days (sometimes many) when I am at my wits end, pulling my hair out, stepping outside the door and swearing beneath my breath. There are days when I can not take the crying, complaining, fighting, demanding behavior of my children. There are even days when I run upstairs and hide, lock myself in my closet and burst into enormous, sobbing tears. But every single one of those days pales in comparison to the last six and a half years of my life that I have spent loving, laughing, cherishing and spending time with my kids. Yes, giving up jobs and careers is a huge sacrifice for many families. Some families can afford it but choose not to. Other families dream that a parent could stay home with the kids, but simply can’t. There is no right or wrong. There should be no judgement either.

I am just utterly blessed for these special, precious moments that I’ve had with my children at home, watching them grow and learn about the world with excitement and hope. When asked what you wish your child could be or have when he or she grows up, my reply is simple: I want them to be happy, productive, self-sufficient, loving adults who care about others and contribute to the world. I don’t need a doctor or lawyer (yes of course it would be nice but I am not the one to decide or demand their future profession). I need a child who cares and can make a difference in the world or brighten the day of someone less fortunate than themselves.

All my travels have taught me that we live a crazy, insane life in the United States. Although there is plenty of poverty, violence and drugs abound, there is also enormous possibilities and potential. Unlike Nepal or India where people can barely make ends meet and live on less than $2 a day, most Americans are truly deeply spoiled. My dream is that my children can understand how fortunate they are and use this knowledge to make the world a better place, one step at a time. Perhaps I have too lofty of goals but that is what parenthood is about: Inspiring your children to dream big.

Happy Mother’s Day, all you Mom’s out there!