“Happy Mother’s Day to my Children,” May 2, 2017

When my children were small, I always told them I didn’t need gifts for Mother’s Day. All I needed was them and their love.

It may be the only thing I ever said that they actually heard.  They aren’t so small any more. Neither am I. But they never forget me on Mother’s Day. Or my birthday. Or any other day, really. It’s astonishing to see such thoughtfulness and responsibility in people who, not so long ago, liked to stick peas up their noses.

This year for Mother’s Day, I decided I wanted to celebrate (with apologies to that old song, “M-O-T-H-E-R”) my children:

“C” _ is for the Crazy things they gave me: Wrinkles. Gray hair. Calloused knees from years of prayer. A bizarre sense of humor. And, yes, thank you, Lord, grandchildren.

“H” _ is for the Harebrained things they did. For example:

My daughter, after high school, drove across country with a friend in a 15-year-old Honda Civic. They had a blast. I aged 20 years. And I wanted to have that Civic bronzed.

My youngest, at age 7 _ while I worked next door decorating the gym for his Little League banquet _ stripped naked and jumped in the school pool. I learned this when his buddy ran into the gym, laughing hysterically, to shout, “Nathan’s naked in the pool!”

And my oldest, at 16, got in trouble on Halloween for smashing pumpkins at a rival school with a friend, in a truck that proclaimed on its doors the friend’s father’s business and a phone number the authorities were only too happy to call.

They were smart, my three. They just didn’t always show it.

“I” _ is for the Infinite ways in which they changed me. They made me smarter. Wiser. Humbler. Honester. Poorer. Older. And Infinitely happier.

“L” _ is for the Love and the Laughter they’ve brought me. You don’t know what love is until you love someone more than you love yourself. And you don’t know how to laugh until you learn to laugh, long and hard, at your own mistakes.

“D” _ is for their Dad, for all the ways they are like him, for the blue of their eyes, the steel in their will, and the fact _ I know this absolutely _ that he’s still watching over them from the Heavenly basketball courts.

“R” _ is for all the Reasons I adore them. For their goodness and goofiness. Their kindness and forgiveness. And for their God-like way of taking my failures and miraculously working them for good.

“E” _ is for Eternity. That’s how long I will love them. And will keep a close watch over them. In this world and the next, whether they like it or not.

“N” _ is for Now. Today. This moment. Truly, it is all we have. The past is for memories. The future is for dreams. But the present is the only time for living. For spending time together. For phone calls and FaceTimes and late night texts with emojis I don’t understand. For making new memories and dreaming new dreams. Now.

I love all the people my children have been. The newborns who clung to me. The toddlers I chased. The teenagers who took years off my life waiting for them to come home. I miss all those people sometimes. I wish I could get them back for a while. I picture herding them up in a pen, like sheep at a shearing, and holding them close, one by one.

But as much as I love all the people they’ve been, I love even more the people they’ve become. They never stick peas up their noses any more. At least, not in my presence. They cook their own meals. Do their own laundry. And they worry about me more than I worry about them. For good reason.

I wish you could know them.

I don’t need gifts for Mother’s Day. My children are the gifts of a lifetime, the only gifts I need.

Them and their children.

But a phone call might be nice.

I would like that a lot.

And, OK, maybe a card?


  1. Delores Miller says

    I just love reading your column. It is so uplifting! Your Mother’s Day column was so good. Keep up the wood work.

  2. Mary shaffer says

    Dear Sharon, I’ve wanted t write t for a long time. I find your columns so heartwarming, truthful and sometimes tearful. I just love reading them!

  3. Kate Sciacca says

    You nailed it… as usual ? Absolutely the best gifts ever… children and grands… but yes, a card is always appreciated- maybe with a little gift card ☕️ inside? ?

  4. Beth Heeren says

    I pictured those sparkling blue eyes of them as I read this…you were a wonderful example of the best kind of mother when you welcomed all of us into your home every Wednesday…or was it Thursday? Thanks!

  5. Hi Sharon!

    Your article on Mother’s Day brought back a flood of memories. I could not have said it better. I could not imagine a life without my 2 sons and now grandchildren.

    Love, Hugs and Blessings.

    Juliann McPadden

  6. Sharon Atkinson says

    I look forward every Wednesday to read what you have written. Your story is my favorite thing in the paper
    My next to youngest had breast cancer and after undergoing all the chemo treatments and radiation treatments a month later she had a heart attack. I look forward to reading what you have to say . That and my faith is keeping me and my family going.Thank you for your wonderful writing.

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