On Mothers’ Day, I was woken up by Mike and the boys with a tray full of breakfast goodies. Oliver sat next to me while I ate in bed and kept rubbing my arm and smiling his Oliver smile, telling me that “you’re such a good girl” and that “you have the most beautiful nose in the whole world!” I died. Theo bounced around, so excited to surprise me with the omelette he made me (with his dad’s supervision), a card, and flowers. Mike told me later that while they were arranging my food on a tray, Theo said, “I’m so excited I’m shaking!” and when Mike looked down, sure enough, Theo’s hands were shaking. I mean, that is pretty stinkin adorable. 🙂
We didn’t have any particular plans for that day because Mike had made other plans for the weekend that we ultimately had to cancel. So after breakfast we decided on a short little road trip to explore the Kingwood Center Gardens in Mansfield, Ohio.
We loaded up the van without much more of a plan than a destination. I knew we would be hungry by time we arrived in Mansfield, so we scoped out restaurants from the road, looking for a Chinese place we could grab some take out (a picnic favorite of ours).
Mike – the navigator king, found us a restaurant and I ordered our food and away we went. We parked at the gardens and I spread out a blanket (I never leave home without a picnic blanket in the car!) and we feasted on the random assortment I had picked out for us. Bea even managed to steal – and eat! – a piece of Mike’s sushi.
We strolled through the gardens for a few hours and it was another absolutely gorgeous day. It was warm and sunny without being too hot, and the gardens were starting to really spring to life. We explored the grounds, stuck our feet in a fountain, and just enjoyed being out and about together.
That night, after feeding the kids a quick supper and putting them to bed, Mike gave me my Mothers’ Day present – a meal prepared by himself. This has never really happened before! I couldn’t believe that he planned to do this for me, and was incredibly touched by the gesture. And then, I was totally impressed, because his meal was AMAZING! He had an appetizer for us – a soft cheese with basil on sea salt Melba toasts, and opened up a fantastic bottle of Pinot Noir. He grilled salmon, steamed broccoli, and cooked brown rice – cooking and seasoning everything to perfection. (How is he just naturally good at everything???) He also sliced up a baguette and served it with dipping oil.
He moved our little breakfast nook table out onto the patio and we ended the evening with such a romantic little dinner that I could have just died of happiness.
Over the years, Mike and I have had our fair share of fights about my unmet expectations and his hurt feelings over thinking he had made a meaningful gesture, and here is what I’ve come to learn and what I think made this Mothers’ Day so wonderful. First, I really don’t agree that moms should just keep their expectations low for special events so that they don’t get their feelings hurt. I mean, does that even sound…possible? Lol. And besides, I think it’s good to want to be celebrated – moms are worth celebrating! I don’t think that the best way to handle these situations is by de-valuing our worth. And that isn’t selfish; moms give and give and give, and sometimes, we need the love tank refilled so that we can pour from a full cup.
I know we can all get our heart set on overly specific expectations, and that’s not helpful for anyone; but rather than not having any expectations at all for how I want to spend special days – which is rather impossible to avoid – I would prefer to focus on clearly communicating in a loving and mutually respectful manner what those expectations are. Mike and I have worked hard for years on this subject. I’ve had to learn to communicate before the fact in a way that was loving (and mades sense), and Mike had to learn how to accept that what communicates love to him is not the same thing that communicates love to me.
For the record, yes, I have told Mike that breakfast in bed is important to me. I hate mornings and trying to figure out what to feed everyone when all I want to do is crawl back in bed is the absolute worst. So I’ve shared with him that this is a sure fire way to make me feel loved and heard on special days. And Mike has helped me to see that sometimes the heart behind his plans is really what matter the most – even when the gift/day itself isn’t what I had expected. I’ve learned to communicate my preferences, and then walk away from it and trust that whatever he comes up with and enjoy it for what it is – a gesture of love. We are really starting to take these lessons (read: fights) to heart and implement what we’ve learned from and about each other.
So this past Mothers’ Day really worked mostly because we’ve fought so stinkin much on this topic, lol. I didn’t come into the day with specific expectations, but I had previously communicated my general hopes about what would mean the most. And boy did he ever respond. With so much love. With so much thoughtfulness. And with so much fun.
This past Mothers’ Day was truly special to me, and one that I will not soon forget. I’m so incredibly thankful for a man who loves me and works to push through the tough stuff so that we can love better. A good marriage takes a lot of work. But on the other side of that work, is truly something special.