This piece was originally published in May 2013 as a Facebook Note. I’m wishing a Happy Mother’s Day to all my friends and family. I know Mother’s Day can be a sad day for many of us—a time when we miss our mothers who are no longer here, when we grieve children who left us too soon, when fractured relationships make it hard to feel celebratory. So grab whatever happiness you can find and treat yourself with kindness this Mother’s Day. We’re all just doing the best we can, right? —Nan
To My Sons: What I Would Like for Mother’s Day
I want you to have good hearts and be kind to others.
I want you to be independent, self-motivated, and self-sufficient.
I want you to love yourself, but never stop trying to be a better person.
I want you to love each other, and be there for each other when I’m gone.
I want you to be honest with yourself and others.
I want you to be true to yourself even if some people would rather you not.
I want you to feel love and be loved and love freely, even though that means you’ll probably be hurt sometimes.
I want you to be lifelong learners.
I want you to read a lot.
I want you to do what you say you’re going to do.
If you screw up, I want you to own it, apologize, and try to do better next time.
I want you to treat others with respect, and demand to be treated with respect in return.
I want you to put others before yourself sometimes.
I want you to know life is not fair, but keep being optimistic.
I want you to be able to keep your sense of humor even in the dark times—especially during the dark times.
I want you to work hard, work before you play, and when you do play, enjoy yourself (as long as your work is done first).
I want you to be curious about others—genuinely curious.
I want you to know you don’t know everything.
I want you to choose happiness, and understand that you have to keep choosing happiness over and over again, every morning you wake up.
I want you to do what you love. Sometimes that’s not what you imagined it would be, so you have to stay open to new possibilities.
I want you to be grateful for simple things, like a good night’s sleep, a walk outdoors, food in your tummy, warmth when it’s cold outside, and a soft clean pillow on which to lay your head at night.
I want you to keep your word.
I want you to be able to forgive others and never leave room in your heart for hate.
I want you to know I would give anything for your happiness, including my life.
I want you to remember I was once young just like you, that I had hopes and dreams just like you, and that you’re never too old to dream—because if I can keep dreaming, so can you.
I want you to know the value of hope. Hope is everything.
I want you to remember things always seem worse in the middle of the night. It will be better in the morning, I promise.
I want you to think of me as a whole human being who has feelings just like you, but also know that I’ll never stop being your mom, and there’s no one on this earth who believes in you more than me.
p.s. A homemade card with a handwritten note would also be nice.
copyright © 2013 Nan McCarthy