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Celebrating Mother’s Day With Young Children

Embracing the moments…

My teenagers are past those endearing elementary school Mother’s Days now, those sunny Sundays with the extra hugs, the elaborate newsprint-and-glitter drawings, the fingers brushing my hair.

The Joy of Celebrating Mother’s Day with Young Children

And of course, there are those eyebrow-raising fill-in-the-blank cards:

  • My mom’s favorite thing is me.
  • I love my mom more than Funyuns and the dog.
  • Thank you for picking me up when you forgot me at church.
  • Your face reminds me of cottage cheese.

But when celebrating Mother’s Day with young children, these days can feel exceptionally joyful and light. Perhaps they can’t carry the weight of all you do 24/7, 365, zero days off.

But they are sweet. Celebratory. Light. An appealing add-on to the potential monotony of daily life. You might even swipe a nap.

This is one day a year where you can enjoy being seen. Even just a little.

Not wholly. Your eight-year-old simply cannot grasp what it’s like to endure Braxton-Hicks, or the wait of an adoption, the gravitas of foster care. They don’t see the amount of crumbs you whisk from the countertop daily, or the visceral reaction when the school’s number lights up your phone.

So whether you were the recipient of a coupon book made with fat crayons or Mother’s Day felt like a bit of an afterthought: Take heart with three happy, unforgettable realities.

Your kid celebrating Mother’s Day isn’t a short-term win.

Even if your Mother’s Day card is really thanks to your kids’ Sunday School teacher—you and others are cultivating empathy and gratitude in your kids.

Mom, you work hard. Mom, thanks for reading me stories and throwing me a Lego birthday party.

How Celebrating Mother’s Day with Young Children Builds Lasting Memories

Know this: Celebrating Mother’s Day with young children is sweet, evidenced by gluey cards and leggy daisies, as it teaches them to honor their mom—one of the Ten Commandments. They’re also reminders of habits, even a culture, of gratitude you’re slowly building in your home.

When they were little, or maybe now, how many times a day, a week, were or are, you reminding them to say “thank you”?

It’s working, people. This is a win!

The character qualities requiring kids to turn outward, rather than toward self, slowly bricks a foundation that will pay off in their relationships and marriages someday.

It’s one reason not to modestly minimize, what you do contribute to your home when your kids think to acknowledge it: “I love you so much! It’s not hard. You’re no work at all!”

It’s okay for our kids to witness that love takes work. However happy or privileged we are to do it.

Pro tip: There are days we feel neither happy nor privileged to be the one scrubbing the carpet of bodily fluids at 3:42 AM. And someday, it will be our kids’ turn.

It’s wise for them to observe that love so often requires work. Sometimes overwhelming work. Discomfort. Inconvenience. Even harm (remember labor?).

Yet as Jesus shows us in technicolor, it is profoundly worth the last drops of our energy, time, finances, bodies.

Use these moments to sink into gratitude. (No, really.)

Mother’s Day represents a significant, though challenging, aspect of motherhood.

You’re barely out of the days when your child required assistance going to the bathroom (if, having other children, you’re out of them at all). And though there may be days when you wish your child would stop the three-minute elaboration about how hard it was to pry the lid off the Play-dough—the teenaged version of that child may no longer yearn to gush every detail of her existence.

The book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible discusses the seasons of life. My son, for one, will likely be unable to dial home from his deployment in Asia this year. If he sent me a drawing of him and me in the mail for Mother’s Day, I might bawl my ever-loving eyes out.

When mothers told me at his baby shower that I’d blink and he’d be grown, I didn’t believe them. I didn’t believe them when I fantasized about trading yoga pants for power heels when he was a toddler, or when I pushed him on the swing as a preschooler, his tiny teeth blue-white.

I believe those mothers now.

So haul your kids onto your lap today. Or cheer on their (safe-ish) stunts at the playground. Turn each butterfly kiss, each moment your child asks to hold your hand into offering for God, a memorial stone of His kindness (Joshua 4:4-10).

As it is said, the days are long, but the years are short.

Take a cue from your kids.

I’m hoping you’ll snag just a few minutes with a latte today, and the quiet to go with it.

As you reflect on celebrating Mother’s Day with young children who made you a mama, and perhaps on the woman love has made you—realize the vibrant images of God woven into the fabric of this family unrolling before your eyes.

Perhaps there’s something you learned of Him through round-the-clock feedings, of responding to and recognizing cries, of the vigilant care a helpless body needs as it develops and grows.

Envision His interest in the intricacies of your story, your delight, your preferences, your worst days. Though you’re unable to conceive of the extent of His work on your behalf, consider His eyes lighting up in receiving your adult version of small handprints on plaster, a mug from your pottery unit. (Maybe if God had a mug, your name would be on it.)

Reflect on how He might love you before you really did anything for Him, had a job or a role, contributed to society. “The kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it” (Mark 10:14-15).

Kids come to God, to us, in poverty of spirit (Matthew 5:3). They’re in need, helpless, dependent. They’re affectionate, lacking reserve, presenting no resume of achievements. They must come as they are, trusting they run into open arms.

Celebrating Mother’s Day with Young Children: More Meaningful Than You Thought

Because Mother’s Day is, yes, about how we love and are loved. But it’s also about the way in which we are loved immaculately—24/7, 365. With abandon.

Perhaps, with me, you witness a direct tie to the Gospel. Am I truly speaking over myself a pure Gospel, where it is only by grace I’ve been saved, not as the result of what I do (Ephesians 2:8-9)? Or does the Gospel show up in a posturing, curated version of myself, unchildlike, and hoping God will respect all my efforts?

This Sunday, bask in the imperfect affection of your kids. And then, bask in the perfect affection that’s also yours, forever.

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