Wednesday, May 18, 2011


My next-to-the-youngest son is graduating from high school next week. I believe this is cause to celebrate, but he scoffs and wonders what the big deal is. He doesn't think he has accomplished much in his life. He hasn't received any awards, he didn't become the athlete he always hoped to be, he hasn't been recognized for anything extraodinary, he's not considered a popular kid, he just feels average.
Let me tell you about this "average" kid. He is a natural-born leader. He does not demand this title, yet others seem to gravitate towards him, and follow him. He is someone who does what he wants without concern for what others may think. As a young boy, he would wear striped pants with a plaid shirt, or play T-ball with bright orange shorts and his cowboy boots. He never was one to buy brand name clothing, but would rather see how far his money would stretch. It has never bothered him to dress or act differently than others. He's happy being himself. He is a person of integrity.
This kid has always made me and anyone around him, happy. He has a cheerful disposition ALL the time. He has a sense of humor and can always make people laugh.
He has not achieved scholoastic, athletic, or other honorary awards, but he is a winner. He knows when to step back and glory in the success of others. He is fiercely loyal and supportive of his friends and peers. He attends events in which he'd rather be a participant, but is a spectator, yet he cheers the loudest, exuding genuine happiness in the success of others.
He is one of the bravest people I know. He tried out for, and earned a spot in competing in "Mr. Springville" at the high school. It was a tough competition, broken down into multiple mini competitions. For the talent portion, there were some boys who sang or danced, always with either a group of other friends participating with them, or with music blaring as their background (or cover-up??); skits, where again, friends joined them in the presentation. My son is the ONLY one who opened himself up to a raw display of comedy. There were no flashing lights, no background music, no group of friends performing with him, just him, all alone on that stage, with the student body and parents staring at him, critiquing him. He would either fall flat on his face and get no laughs, or he'd "nail" it. Guess what? He NAILED it! He was scared to death, but he had everyone laughing and applauding enthusiastically. That experience gave him one of the biggest boosts of his life, but he had to take the gamble and jump into the cold water, head first. He didn't drown, but rose above the surface a better person, having more confidence in himself than ever before. I'm so proud of him.
My son is self-motivated, responsible, and honest. I have never once had to drag him out of bed to get to school or work. I've never had to nag him about his homework, or remind him about his work schedule. He always says to me "Mom...I've got it covered", and he does. He never calls into work "sick", but fulfills his responsibility without complaint. His boss knows he can depend on him and has never been disappointed in him. He's not a "flaky" teenager. He is trustworthy and does what he says he will do. He doesn't look for a "cheat" or a shortcut.
My son went to the extra effort of achieving his Eagle Scout award. He doesn't give himself enough credit for this, but it's a big deal I think.
So while others are receiving their awards and medals of honor, scholarships and recognition, (which are all wonderful), I'll take my "average" son any day. He's an exceptional person, a boy growing into a mature young man, who will contribute to society in HIS way. I am so proud of him and love him with all my heart, and I feel this world is a better place because of him.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mother's Day...don't need the "stuff"

The calendar says this one day a year is supposed to be something special for mothers. I don't like a date on the calendar to dictate what should happen on that day. It sets everyone up for disappointment when expectations aren't met. I tell myself I have no expectations, but then the day arrives and I find that I secretly DO.

I'm not talking about gifts. I honestly don't want "the stuff". I don't need tangible gifts. I don't want my husband or children sweating over what to get me; worrying about not having the funds to purchase something; stressing over what to do for Mom. When the kids were little, teachers at church and/or school would have them draw a picture, or fill out a slip of paper redeemable for a hug, or a voucher good for making their bed (or mine); things of that nature. Now that they're older, they think those gifts were dumb. Actually, those are the gifts I loved the very most. I don't need "the stuff!!!"

This is a day when mothers sometimes feel guilty and depressed because we don't fit the mold of the perfect mother. We want to hide out and wait for Monday so we can get back to reality.

If I could have my perfect day, it would be to stay home and put my feet up, read a good book, have my children at my beck and call, adoring me; have dinner prepared for me; have the kitchen cleaned up afterwards til it shined; receive heartfelt letters of love and appreciation from each child, along with a hug; take a nap; and just do nothing.

Every once in a while I throw myself a little pity-party, feeling overworked and under-paid, wondering if what I do is even noticed, let alone appreciated. But that party is short-lived and now I ask myself; do I really want what I described as my perfect day? No...I really don't! I want to go to church, I want to be busy and interact with my family and others. I want to be out there living my life. I love my children and would do anything for them. I love the mundane things I do around the house that may go unnoticed by my family, but it brings me joy to serve my family in this way. If I were to resign myself to a recliner, I would die inside. I just can't do it, although it does sound nice for a day. :)

So...I'm good! I'm happy. I have a good life. I LOVE being a mother. It's my greatest blessing. So on this Mother's Day, instead of celebrating ME, I'm celebrating my children. I really don't need "the stuff" (although I certainly wouldn't turn down a meal prepared by hands other than mine).

This is also a day to celebrate my own mother of course. She really is the best Mom I could ever ask for. She gives me unconditional love and she's ALWAYS there for me; ALWAYS!!! In just the simplest ways, she makes me feel like a million bucks. When I call her on the phone, her voice escalates in excitement that it's me. Any time we spend together is the highlight of her day. She makes me feel so special. I love her so much. I hope I can convey to my own children, what my mother taught me, and that's how to love.

Happy Mother's Day to all of us.