Lately I've been thinking about my three boys - or I should say, men. They are all in their 20's and my contact with them is sporadic and infrequent. I was the same way at their age so part of me understands. The other part sort of wishes we had a closer relationship. We don't share a lot, but I hold onto the belief that my mothering has been an important part of their life and that underneath what seems like indifference is a thick layer of caring that they find difficult to express. Every so often, though, along the journey of parenting, you get a glimpse of that caring layer. Over the years each boy has given me a gift that is special to my heart.
Son #1 lived through more of the poor years than any of the others. He would often accompany me to craft fairs at his school or in the community and he actually seemed to enjoy them. Twice when he was young (about 12 or so) and we were at a craft fair, I admired something but wouldn't buy it because our budget was so tight that I didn't feel I could splurge on anything that didn't have function, especially for myself. But each time he snuck back to the fair and bought the items with his own carefully saved money. I still have the fish made out of a painted rock - even though the fins have not stood the test of time too well - and the flower pot painted with my favorite lilies of the valley. Thanks son #1 for first of all recognizing that I liked those items and for using your savings to see that I had them.
Son #2 saw me admire a bonsai tree at a vendor in the local mall. I wouldn't buy it because my gardening skills are not the best and I was sure that I would kill it. But he believed in me and wanted to see me have the tree without regard to my success or failure in keeping it alive. That meant a lot to me. The tree lasted several months but then eventually died under my unskilled hand. I kept the pot it was planted in for a long time and am a bit distraught that I don't know where it is just now. Hopefully it is safely wrapped in one of the boxes in the garage. He also bought me on another occasion a special necklace declaring that I was a #1 Mom. It seemed like he genuinely wanted the world to know that he considered me a good Mom. Thanks son#2 for believing in me and for wanting to let the world know.
Son #3 saw the mother in me and had to endure perhaps more mothering than the others. One Christmas he bought me a special locket, had it engraved and filled it with his picture and a piece of his curly hair. I wear that sometimes when I'm especially worried about him or wondering how he is. Another year he made me a basket, but wanted to add to it and fill it with something he knew I would enjoy. He picked out chocolate candies and a nice blue sweater. I thought it was so special for him to want to enhance his gift with things he knew I liked. I may never get rid of that sweater no matter how worn it becomes. Thanks son #3 for knowing what I would like and for wanting to enhance your gifts with the picture and lock of hair.
I hope my sons hold on to their gift giving skills and use them in their relationships with their future families. I hope they cultivate that caring and thoughtful side of their personalities and don't let it get buried under the busyness of career and everyday life.
I love you guys. It is a privilege to be known as your mother.