A Mom’s Best Gift to Her Children

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Best Gift

My Mom worked hard for our family. At the time, she thought that was the best gift she could ever give us. She generally worked two jobs at a time. She was a hair-dress by day and a waitress at night.

On her nights off, she was either curled up watching television in bed or out dancing with friends. Some nights I would have a baby sitter. Others, my brother might be home. Most of the time, I was alone.

As I grew up, I did not care if she was home or if we spent time together. We loved each other. But, we did not have a relationship. Not a close one, anyway.

As a grown woman, that began to fester in my heart and I felt hurt whenever she would demand time of me. I harbored anger and resentment. I would think: “Where were you when I was growing up. Why do you need me now? I have my own life……”

I never thought she knew how deeply it had hurt growing up without her being home or present.

I never knew how to put these feelings into words until recently.  A friend recently shared something with me that hit home. She helped me find the words to describe what I had been feeling. Being a Mom in proximity to my children is not the same as being a Mom giving quality time and nurturing moments.

About a month before my Mom passed away, we were talking on the phone and she broke into tears. She told me how sorry she was for not being home and not being part of my life.  She told me that she felt it was her time to party, have fun and make money after I was born.  After all, she had done her part with my brothers and well…I’d be ok.  She told me – as she lay there knowing she was dying she could never take back those moments. but if she could, she would give every.single.penny.or.breath.of.life to make it right.

Her apology meant little to me at the time. I had allowed the hurt to swell up inside my heart for so long that it became part of me. I carried it around and wore it like a blanket.

Until recently.

I became aware of the path that I was quickly heading towards being a Mom in the proximate location of my children……but absent.

That thought hit me, as I listened to my friend and realized I had just told one of my children – “Just five more minutes, baby…and I’ll be with you.” (for the tenth time in less than 2 hours)…..

And the words to “Cat’s In the Cradle” rang through my ears.  The chaos of the world around me and seeing how far we have fallen as a nation whose families are falling apart as we have forgotten why our nation was founded – ‘to worship God freely’ – when was that replaced with the American dream of more, more, more….

As my thoughts collided and my heart-felt so heavy I thought it may actually stop… I stepped back and heard my Mom’s words…and what came after…..

Rebecca, you’re home with them.  You made a difficult choice financially, but it’s the right choice and God will carry you through and honor your commitment.  Don’t make the same mistakes I made….you will be tempted.  I love you and you are a great Mom.  You have the life I always wanted…..please cherish it.”

That was one of our last conversations.  I buried it for four years.

Now, the healing begins.  The blanket is falling off. The blanket of anger, hurt and inadequacy.  I’m grabbing on to this life as a Mamma.  It’s a short life that is easy to miss.

Those five minutes can never be re-lived. But, the next five minutes will not be missed.

And I’m shouting from the roof top to Heaven….  “Thank You, Mamma….  You did the best you could and you called me to do better.  I’m honoring you…loving you from here and holding these babies the way you want me to.  I’ll raise them up to know who you were and to love God”

This Christmas, while I celebrate the birth of Christ, I’m also celebrating the best gift my Mom ever gave me.  This gift is number 1232 as I count all of my joys with Ann.  This one….trumps almost every one, save the most beautiful from the Father! And I’m choosing to be The Better Mom.

What are you celebrating?

This post is part of my series walking through death.

Links to other posts in the series:

Joining with Raising Arrows




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  1. lovely – and a truth many of us will come to know too late =/

    • Thank you, Stef. True….many will miss it. The impact will be on the next generation. Love your heart, friend. Thank you for stopping by, reading and commenting. It means a lot.

  2. very well written. what a gift!

    my parents were (and still are) both “unpresent.” They don’t understand how I’m raising my family. They resent me (and I’m an only child!). oh, there’s a whole sad story but I won’t tell it here.

    God is my Father and He leads me in being a better mama.

    • Jennifer, I am so sorry…..I knowit’s hard when you don’t have support from family…..being resented, though, that is very tough!!! I love you friend and so happy we met!!!

  3. “Being a Mom in proximity to my children is not the same as being a Mom giving quality time and nurturing moments.” I had almost the identical thought written in my “when I have time for blogging” notes. Goodness gracious, Rebecca! I guess I can quit blogging now. You’ve already got it covered! :-)

    Great post, and so completely true. Being present requires a great deal more than just being in the room. As the first generation of mothers to have this particular distraction so readily available, I think we’re all coming to this realization at roughly the same time, judging from the number of moms I know who are suddenly pulling back from some promising prospects on the web. If we want to be SAHM’s, we need to keep our minds at home, too! Not that there isn’t a place for blogging and the like. I love it, and hope I’ll eventually have time to write something besides comments. Like, today, maybe. But still, it is so much more important that I live with my children, not just, as you say, in proximity.

    You’re not a perfect mommy (just like me!) but you keep getting better because you know that and you keep finding ways to be better. <3 you!

    • I think it’s a HUGE temptation to think things would be better with more of this or more of that…. I’ve made that big pay check. It didn’t solve any problems. Created a few…like some bad habits!

      Love you, friend. Nope, not perfect, but seeking a transforming heart and mind daily!

  4. What a beautiful tribute. Beautifully written, Rebecca.

  5. Thank you for this! There are tears in my eyes as I realize I’ve made the right decision to stay home. My mother and mother-in-law think I’ll be going back to work as soon as my oldest is ready for preschool but they don’t realize how serious I am about homeschooling. (I’m actually a licensed teacher.)
    My in-laws especially will be hard to convince. Both my mom and MIL worked their fingers to the bone and sent my husband and I off to school. Our lifestyle choice of me being home and the whole issue of homeschooling is threatening to them – almost as if by our choices we are judging them for theirs. So they think we’re crazy.
    We’re also having our 3rd baby in 3 years and since my husband was an only child due to financial/economical choices they will insist we act the same. They won’t truly see the blessing til later, but sometimes I am tempted to just do the easy thing and go back to work. Finances are very tight and I grow weary of waiting for a miracle. Still, reading this post reminds me that it’s all worth it. And it doubly reminds me that even if I’m home I can still neglect my children if I’m not present and engaged with them.
    Thank you! I’ll be sharing this on Twitter and my FB page. =)

    • Jasmine, I really don’t know how to reply to your comment. Your words are beautiful and I am blessed you shared this with me. I have friends and family who do not understand some of our choices and like you… I know there are times they think/feel I am making the wrong choice. It’s where we are as a Nation – with the family being the ‘least’…. That, to me is so opposite of how things should be. If you are following God’s plan for you and your family (and it sounds to me like you are) then keep your eyes on Him…and know that I am praying for you.

  6. MomRebecca~ so true what you share… I would love to send you to a post I read today…I enjoyed it as I did yours.

  7. Thank you for such a beautiful post, your words really touched me as I felt neglected by my mum and I am striving to give my hunny bunch a more attentive and intentional mumma. Tara (The Proverbs 31 Sanctuary)