Yesterday, Gary and I shopped for Mother's Day stuff for our moms. I found the gift for mine quickly. My mom is easy to please and her tastes are simple. She's always been this way. I gave her gardening stuff for her birthday in February and it delighted her (I come by this passion honestly). Today I found her a small, simply decorated plaque that said, There is no such thing in anyone's life as an unimportant day (Alexander Woolcott). Mom collects quotes; they are plastered all over the walls, often just small slips of paper taped at eye level---around her kitchen sink, above her sewing machine, her computer, over her washing machine, even the bathroom.You can't help but learn something new and profound every time you walk through her house. She will like this quote, just as I do.
Gary looked for far longer than I did, not because his mother is harder to please, but because he is so anxious to get the perfect thing for her and even when he sees something she might like, he'll look even longer to be sure there's nothing better out there.
After I'd finished my shopping, I went back to the mini-van and waited for him to finish making his decision and pay for our gifts. It seemed like he was taking far longer than was necessary and about the time I was getting impatient (we'd left the boys at the barber shop), he surfaced with two gift bags--one for his mom and one for mine.
On the way to pick up the boys, he said, "I don't want to wait until tomorrow for you to see yours." This is pretty funny as he's big on "holiday discipline" and not opening presents early (a quality which yours truly lacks). "It's in the bag with your Mom's."
So I reached inside and withdrew a small package, wrapped carefully in pink tissue paper. Within its folds I found a lovely set of wind-chimes. This made me laugh and hug him.
I have become quite the collector of wind-chimes. The front of our home is lined with a variety of them--wood, different metals, different sizes, shapes, and colors. They sound like the percussion section of an orchestra gone wild when the wind runs back and forth through them, like joy given a voice. Gary isn't quite as fond of them as I am, muttering about the cacophonous noise whenever I point out a set I like, but he's patient with me about it, and will even hang them up for me when I request it.
This particular set has several slender silver bars attached to a floral heart with the very sweet words, "The heart brightens a day more than sunshine" printed on it. Small colored beads caught and reflected the sunlight of the car's dashboard as I held it up.
"There were other bigger ones in there, but it seemed like you had a lot of--" he paused, reaching for a musical term, then beaming when he did, "altos and basses already and could use a set of sopranos . . . Yeah. That's it. Sopranos."
When we got home, he immediately retrieved a ladder and hung it up alongside all the altos and basses where it immediately added its voice to the cheerful din. I can see it from the front window and it makes me smile each and every time I hear it. He picked it out for me, knowing I would like it, putting aside his own feelings about the matter. Honestly, that sums Gary up nicely. He is a man who is happy to put himself aside for his family.
When the boys were small, I used to look forward to Mother's day, because it was a little like receiving a badge of honor once a year for doing something I would have done without any acknowledgement at all. But having preschoolers, toddlers, and babies all at once was exhausting, sometimes thankless work so I took my kudos where I could find them.
Today we are meeting with Gary's brother and sister-in-law and his mother and going out to lunch. When we return we'll take my Mom her mother's day gift and return home where they will all do their best to make sure I know how much they love me. I'm not supposed to know about it, but I'm aware that the boys have been nudging one another into making handmade cards and small gifts for days. It is still wonderful to be celebrated, but (between you and me) I don't particularly need it. Gary has a nack for making me feel so valued and important every day that Mother's Day is almost anticlimactic by comparison.
It is as though someone or something has pointed out the sound of sand as it streams through the neck of some grand hour glass and we all are rushing to fill the remaining time with things that matter. Perhaps it's the loss of a handful of dear friends, perhaps it's the rapid fire speed with which the boys are growing, or maybe it's seeing our own seemingly immortal parents age before our eyes. But at some point--without words--we agreed to make sure that no day is unimportant. So as great (and important) as Mother's Day is--celebrating every day together is more so.
My favorite face in the world.