By Gayla Grace
NASHVILLE (BP) — As a young mom, I thought Mother’s Day should be all about me. Surely I deserved recognition for my never-ending sacrifices as a mom and stepmom to five children, right?
However, after driving away from my parents’ home not long ago with tears spilling down my cheeks, I sensed God asking me to honor my mom with the time we have left.
No longer able to deny that dementia is consuming Mom’s every fiber, I must acknowledge this is the last Mother’s Day she’ll know me as her daughter. I’d never considered how to truly honor my mom. What does that look like? Why is it important?
Honoring our moms starts with a thankful heart for the role they’ve played in our lives. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without the influence of my mother.
Perhaps you struggle with a thankful heart toward your mother. Many adults have leftover anger and disappointment from a childhood wracked by hurt that makes it almost impossible to consider honoring their moms. If this is the case, I challenge you to examine your heart and consider making amends if possible.
Honoring your mom doesn’t mean you agree with past behavior; it simply acknowledges her place in your life. It might require professional help to deal with your feelings and set appropriate boundaries for your current relationship, but I encourage you to put the past in the past and move forward. I’m not saying it will be easy, but holding on to unforgiveness keeps us in bondage and poisons other relationships.
We experience many blessings when we choose to honor our parents. We allow family legacies to be passed down as we make time for our children to get to know their grandparents. We bask in knowing we’ve done the right thing, preventing regrets later of what can’t be changed. We reap the rewards of deeper relationships and meaningful memories we can savor long after they’re gone. And we more likely receive the same respect and honor in return as our children watch our actions.
Honoring our moms on Mother’s Day doesn’t have to be extravagant or complicated. A simple gesture is often more meaningful than a formal undertaking. Here are three suggestions to consider:
As someone who’d rather write words than speak them, I don’t naturally express appreciation. I’m making an effort to show gratitude toward my mom for the investment she’s made in my life.
I’ll never forget the day when I asked Mom’s opinion on a career decision I needed to make. As she relayed her thoughts, with tears in her eyes, she said, “I wish I’d done more with my life.” I was surprised at her regrets of only small advances in the career world, not recognizing the invaluable occupation she’d chosen as a devoted mom. Realizing her need for affirmation of sacrifices the world considers insignificant, I began to give examples of how her work at home as a mom, wife and homemaker had influenced my life.
Gratitude can also be expressed through a written tribute, detailing childhood memories and expressing appreciation for the positive qualities and values your mom has passed down. A tribute depicts specific ways she’s influenced you and the value of her role in your life. It doesn’t have to be long and complicated to be meaningful.
Give time sacrificially
My youngest sister lives several states away from our mom, stays busy with a family and a demanding career, but makes time to call, send notes and plan extended visits to my parents’ house whenever possible. Her priorities show honor and allow special time with Mom to reminisce about years past, make memories with grandchildren, and help Mom adjust to her new stage of life, while conveying the significant position Mom holds in her life.
If you live a distance away from your mom, it’s hard to commit to frequent visits, but extended stays provide valuable time together. Giving of our time sacrificially isn’t easy and takes intentional effort.
Walk in humility with her
Parenting roles reverse as our moms age, forcing us to assume responsibilities outside the norm. Helping with laundry, going to the store, taking over bill-paying and financial responsibilities, driving her to the doctor or even becoming a regular caregiver demonstrate ways to walk in humility through the aging process.
We also walk in humility when we consider our moms’ opinions on life issues, acknowledging the wisdom they’ve acquired with their gray hair.
Mother’s Day is the perfect time to show honor and love to your mom, without attaching expectations to her response. If you’re a mom yourself, it’s natural to savor the appreciation you receive and deserve on this special day.
As I watch my mom’s last season quickly drawing to a close, I want to show her honor and gratitude, creating special moments in the process, without regrets in the end.
Gayla Grace, on the Web at StepparentingWithGrace.com, writes and speaks on family and stepfamily issues. This article originally appeared in Home Life magazine, published by LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.