“The history of every human being passed through the threshold of a woman’s motherhood.”
– St. John Paul II
What’s the best Mother’s Day gift you’ve ever received?
My son needed an escort to a week-long river rafting course in Colorado. My husband could not take him, so I was next in line. Since my son would spend long days on the water, I would have my days to myself. In all my motherhood years, I’ve never had five days completely alone. I had no idea how therapeutic it would be. I also had no idea the gift I was receiving when I dutifully supported my son and his dreams. The time, solitude, hours of walking, prayer, and browsing shops was nothing short of the perfect Mother’s Day gift.
We arrived in Colorado on Sunday evening of Mother’s Day. I felt a bit weary Monday morning. Why, I’m not sure. It’s an adjustment slowing down when life is always full and busy, then embracing an empty Air B & B house. Yet, I was grateful for the unexpected time and solitude. I was looking forward to much needed time to pray, sort out some things, write, read, browse — do nothing!
I dove right in, embracing every moment. The first day I hiked and walked for hours, and everyday thereafter. I prayed, processed, and dreamed during those full days of walking. I browsed adorable shops. I came back to our quiet house every afternoon and took a bath, read, wrote, watched a movie here and there (which is a luxury for me). Most evenings I got another short walk in. One evening I went to the only daily Mass the tiny town offered during the week. I soaked in so much beauty. I felt like a young exploring child again.
Moms need the gift of time more than they need things. I love how St. Edith Stein phrases it, “the world doesn’t need what women have. The world needs what women are.” The true gift of motherhood lies in her feminine ability to nurture those she loves. To become a total gift of self which is a true blessing from God.
Yet, so often as mothers we forget our God-given gifts and creativity because life is too busy. We forget we need time to replenish and nurture those gifts in order to share them. It’s tough for moms to get away from ordinary life for five days, but what about a weekend, full day, or even an afternoon? Maybe your children are too young (I didn’t leave babies) or your circumstances will not allow you to slip away. A weekly holy hour for prayer and rest in Christ is a beautiful option, if possible.
Do you consider alone time a luxury, which often creates feelings of guilt? Consider your time away as vocation rejuvenation that will bless not only you, but your whole family. Don’t allow unhealthy guilt to creep in as you consider breathing space in your schedule. Discern what will work for you and the season you are in. You’ll know when the time is right.
I have not gone on a five-day sojourn since my accidental getaway. It’s so hard.
This Mother’s Day I’m asking for no physical gifts. Just the gift of time. I plan to get “alone time” on the calendar. Likely, my only plans will be to read, walk, sleep, and pray. That’s all I need. It doesn’t matter what you do. As long as it refreshes you, and reminds you of who you are in Christ.
How can we support each other in this endeavor? What would you do if you had an entire day to yourself? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Happy Mother’s Day!