Mother’s Day is a sweet pause in the life of a family. As a child, it was one of my favorite events. My siblings and I would often pool our collective dollars to buy our mom a piece of pretty glassware for her display shelf. Sometimes, though, Mother’s Day would sneak up on us and we’d improvise.
The year I turned seven, I’d forgotten to save for a present. I remember writing a syrupy poem and presenting it to Mama, along with a Mason jar filled with white trumpet-shaped flowers I’d picked in a field behind our orange orchard. (How was I to know the flowers were stinkweed?) She didn’t seem to notice the noxious odor, and treated that bouquet like lovely roses.
Another year, I made an egg-carton jewelry box for Mother’s Day. I painted it hot pink, then squeezed blobs of Elmer’s glue around each compartment, followed by generous shakes of multicolored glitter. She’s gonna love it, I kept telling myself.
Mama went through grandiose gestures of gratitude, oohing and ahhing my creation. Secretly, I wondered whether she planned to really use it, or if it would just take up space on her dresser as a dust collector.
So I did what any private investigator would do. The next day I tiptoed into her bedroom to see for myself. Easing the lid open, I discovered that she’d filled each egg compartment with her favorite earrings, bracelets, and necklaces.
My snooping came to a halt when I felt my mom plant a kiss on my cheek. “It’s the prettiest jewelry box ever,” she said. “Thank you, honey.”
Under all that paint and glue and glitter sat an ordinary egg carton. The carton had traveled from henhouse to grocery store, and eventually to my teacher’s house. It had ended up in my school classroom, where I’d transformed it into something else; yet, my mother didn’t view it as an ordinary egg carton at all. Mothers are just like that, I figured.
A couple of decades later, Mother’s Day morning found my own young children tiptoeing around our house, preparing to surprise me. I knew better than to climb out of bed early. A surprise takes time, so that’s what I gave them.
Soon they’d tap me on the shoulder and I’d pretend that they’d awakened me from a deep sleep. I’d close my eyes while they led me by the hand to the living room, where crepe paper streamers and a poster-sized Mother’s Day card would transform the room into a celebration. And their daddy would pretend he knew nothing about their plans.
True to form, they pulled off yet another Mother’s Day surprise. The dining room table was set with our blue and white china, and down the middle of the table was a row of vases, each filled with flowers gathered from our flowerbeds. Breakfast consisted of peanut-buttered-and-jellied English muffins, banana slices, and orange juice sipped from crystal goblets.
My Mother’s Day surprises knitted beautiful memories that I treasure to this day. They took planning. Time. A joyful anticipation by those who loved me. In my eyes, each celebration was worth the wait.
God’s surprises are well-timed, too. When I allow Him the freedom to work in my life, I’m never disappointed. His ways are higher and deeper than mine, and He has proven time and again that He loves turning the ordinary into something extraordinary.
Life in Christ is an ongoing adventure well worth the wait.
“You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in all His ways, gracious in all His works.” – Psalm 145:16-17 (KJV)
©2008, Bonnie Bruno
For more slice-of-life stories, visit Bonnie’s Macromoments blog: http://macromoments.blogspot.com