This Thursday is my mother's birthday. In true family tradition, we all gathered today to celebrate around a massive amount of meat and potatoes.
Let me just explain for those of you who don't know her: my mother is the most giving person you'll ever meet. She is the heart of our family. She's also very compassionate and truly cares about others - and she is a mom. Our families have been struggling financially lately - Christmas was a tough time for my little family, although my parents and siblings were overwhelming with their gifts and loved watching us open their presents.
Today, as we gathered together and enjoyed dinner and dessert (all made by my sister, who is an amazing Chef), I realized Mom didn't have any gifts to open today. This about killed me - I picked up a couple of flowers for her, but her physical gift will not be here until the end of the month. After we finished dessert, I watched my Dad go into the other room, and come back with a bag. He sat next to Mom, and I breathed a sigh of relief.. Mom was getting a present today! Dad spoke briefly to my Mom, and she smiled. It was clear they were both excited.
What happened next completely rendered me speechless.
My Mom called me over and told me they had a present for L. It was apparently supposed to be a Christmas present but they weren't able to get it to us until today. It was a VERY handsome Carhartt sweatshirt.
Here is the thing: my Mom was smiling (glowing, even), and so excited to GIVE. She didn't care we weren't able to give her anything today during her celebration. She is truly more blessed by giving than receiving. (I should add I later found my sister did get her something, which was given to her today, but I didn't know that at the time).
Along the same lines, this past Christmas was a tough one - we were able to buy ONE toy for L. Just one. The rest of the presents were practical - food (his food is very expensive), toiletries, and household items we needed.
Guess what? L LOVED his one toy. Loved it!
We are always so wrapped up now in getting the next big thing for people, or feeling entitled on our birthdays or holidays.. What happened to TRULY appreciating being able to give? Or appreciating simple gifts, like L's little plane he loved?
We are in a messed-up world with messed-up priorities. People now are so consumed by getting the next best thing, we never stop to appreciate the important things in life: giving what you can, when you can, and appreciating every little thing that you have been blessed with.
May we all learn a lesson from my very self-sacrificing Mom - true joy comes from giving without expecting anything in return.