Tuesday, May 8, 2012

mother's day: something for everybody

i (vickey) so appreciated my husband’s take on mother’s day.  i too, have given a lot of thought to the day.  it has, as gunther pointed out, evoked a lot of emotion over the years.  in listening to other women, i have found that for many it brings feelings of warm fuzzy, yet for others, it can be the most painful day of the year.

when a woman’s children, or her husband, do not acknowledge her care and sacrifices on behalf of her family, the truth is, it can cut deep.  the day can also be difficult for those women who do not have children of their own, or who have lost children. i personally know a number of women who hide themselves away on the day, because the reminder of their loss overwhelms them.

one of my dearest friends, who for the sake of privacy, i will refer to as beth, lost two babies.  both of her sons died in utero, and she and her husband were not able to bear children of their own.  she has shared with me the kinds of emotion that mother’s day surfaces for her, and yearly, it is a struggle.  beth has been an incredible inspiration to me, and in fact to all of the women in my family.  she has chosen to press through her own personal pain, and give herself to uplifting other women on mother’s day. 

the first year, she simply asked if the women in our family would like to come for tea on mother’s day.  if you knew beth, and her amazing skills, not just in the kitchen, but for hospitality, and design, you would grasp why all of us kriwinski gals leaped at the opportunity.  beth and her husband, who we will call steve, spent weeks planning the menu, designing the tablescape, and even selecting just the right gifts for each of the guests.  steve dressed in blacks with a red bow tie, and served as our waiter.  it was frilly, and fun, and all of us, from great grandma to great granddaughter, felt loved and lavished and spoiled.


the following year, beth invited us again, and yet again the year after that.  it was an event we all hoped for and looked forward to all year, prepared and gifted to us by a couple who chose to focus on others instead of their personal pain.  their offering, the way they decided to give rather than wallow, has inspired me to look outward at times when it would be easy to feel sorry for myself.  are there others feeling the way i do . . .  who have suffered the loss i have (whatever that might be).  what can i do to bring them a smile?

ma·ter·ni·ty (m -tûr n -t )

1. The state of being a mother; motherhood.

2. The feelings or characteristics associated with being a mother; motherliness.

motherhood is not restricted to those who have children.  motherhood = maternity = motherliness, in whatever ways that is demonstrated.

i do not have a mother to celebrate with.  since those days of mother’s day tea, she has gone on ahead.  perhaps there is a woman, without children of her own, who i can love on.  or a single mom who may be struggling and could use some support.  what about the woman who always longed to be a mother, but has never realized that dream? 

for whatever reason, is mother’s day especially difficult for you?  look around. see who you can invest yourself into, and make someone’s mother’s day brighter because you care. 

mother’s day is this next sunday.  there’s still time. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

about fathering on mother's day

mothers and future mothers in our family

i (gunther) admit it.  mother’s day and i do not have the best history.  for a long time i was in the “mother’s-day-was-just-created-to-fill-the-card-company’s-wallet” club.  i suppose my other disclaimer is that gift giving is not one of my love languages.  it is however, one of my wife’s love languages.  which, i have learned, is the point.

to say that vickey’s first mother’s day was a catastrophe is not far from accurate.  she was pregnant with our first child, and although our daughter was yet unborn, vickey glowed with anticipation, and the awareness that she was this baby’s mother.  as mother’s day approached, she quietly anticipated all of the wonderful things in store for her, and all of the ways she imagined i would express my appreciation to her for bearing our child.  as that sunday progressed, without even a nod or affirmation from me, she told herself that what was coming must be really special if i was playing it so cool.  finally, as we were preparing for bed, the realization hit her, that i was actually not going to acknowledge her mother’s day .  .  . at all.  when she asked me if i remembered what day it was, and i recognized that somehow she had expected me to celebrate her motherhood, out it came, the utterance that has lived in infamy in the kriwinski family all-time hall of stupid: “but you’re not my mother”.  that night, my wife cried herself to sleep.

we stayed married.  and over the years, through both of our blunders and sometimes thoughtlessnesses, we have learned the value of loving each other in the way that our mate appreciates.  whether or not i believe that mother’s day was created to fill the card company’s pocket is of no importance.  mother’s day is one more opportunity for me to show my wife how much i value her constant and continual sacrifices as the mother of our children. 

the truth however, is that loving your wife goes much deeper than giving her gifts on mother’s day, spending focused time with her, or whatever speaks her love language.  one of the greatest gifts a husband can give the mother of his children, is to teach those children how to love and respect her.  it’s the gift that keeps on giving. 

husbands, try this quick inventory:

1.               do you teach your children good manners?  do your children see you using good manners when relating to your spouse?

2.       do you instruct your kids to be respectful to their mother? are you respectful when you speak to her?  or do you speak harshly to her, or in a manner that is demanding, brusque or demeaning?

3.       when there is conflict between the mrs. and the children, do you back her up?  or do you override and undermine her authority? 

remember, when training our offspring, more is “caught” than “taught”.

spend any length of time with any father’s kids, and it will be obvious how things are between mom and dad.  do the children treat mom poorly?  it’s a pretty accurate barometer of how dad treats her. 

men, teach your children by example to honor their mother, to respect her, to use good manners always (not just in public, but in private as well).  let your sons see you open doors for her. . . and for their sisters.  

it is as counter cultural today as it was 2,000 years ago – elevate your children’s mother to the rightful place she has been given by God, serving and loving her through the power of the One who did that for us.  your children will learn how to regard their mother with dignity, love, and respect to the degree that you lead by your example. 

Special thanks Cameron Ingalls for the use of your photographs!  And check out Lisa Leonard Designs for some great gift ideas!!