This article was originally published here: http://www.kindredvine.com/?p=596
My son has never really enjoyed parties. He will often go, if asked, but certainly never wishes to have one of his own. His twelfth birthday was no exception. It doesn’t stop me from asking, but his answer is invariably “no thank you.”
In lieu of a party, we as a family took him out to dinner to the restaurant of his choosing. We then came home and had our traditional birthday brownies and presents. Not a lot of presents, really, because what my son asked for from everyone was money. He’s saving for his own computer and wanted nothing but money from family and friends. There were a few packages and a few more envelops on the table.
One by one, the pile of money grew before his eyes. A twenty here, a ten there. Everyone once in a while there would be a fifty or – gasp! – a hundred dollar bill. He was very appreciative, and I was very relieved/proud. You see, just the week before I had to give him a bit of a talking to about being grateful. Gratitude seems to be in short supply in our country, and seems to be dwindling to almost nothing within my almost-teenage son and I had had enough.
Finally, it was time to clean up and get ready for bed – or so we thought. At the last moment, his little sister pulled out her homemade gift for him: she made him a birthday card (complete with a cartoon and private joke), and carefully wrapped eleven cents she then put in a special homemade birthday gift bag.
After watching his pile of money grow, my daughter had shrunk further and further in her chair at the table. By the time he actually opened her present, she was in tears and sobbed, “I’m sorry! I searched my entire room and that’s all the money I have.” I admit, at this moment? I held my breath. Having dealt with my son’s lack of gratitude on a steady basis for the last month or so, I was prepared for the worst.
“That’s okay Sarah,” he said gently. After a slight pause, he continued, “you’ve actually given me the most of all! You see, everyone else gave me some of their money; but you’ve given me all of yours.” She looked up at him across the table, tears streaming down her face. He walked over to her and gave her a hug.
Those are the moments I cherish the most as a mother. It’s always the little things that give me the most pleasure and gratitude for my life. On that day, I was grateful for the reminder that even when it seems as though I’m not getting through to my children, they are indeed learning something. My son remembered his gratitude at the last moment, and my daughter learned that sharing and giving is rewarded in the best way possible. Memories like these propel me forward to be the best mom and person I can be. I hope you find energy and hope in the little things in your daily life, too.