It was May 2000, and Mother's Day was looming. Up to this point in my life, Mother's Day was pretty low on my list of favorite holidays. I'd been married for more than six years, and still had no children. It wasn't due to infertility or anything awful or tragic - just no children. Standing up at the end of Sacrament Meeting on Mother's Day to receive my geranium/box of candy/CD/rose was beyond awkward. I hated sitting through the talks and lessons and being reminded of all that was missing in my life.
But Mother's Day in 2000 was shaping up to be the worst ever.
You see, my mom passed away in January 2000. And this would be my first Mother's Day without her. I didn't have a mother. And I wasn't a mother. And knowing that this DAY was coming up for celebrating mothers and being celebrated as a mother was just too much for my heart to take. I wanted to crawl into a hole and hide for the rest of the month of May.
To make it worse, I couldn't turn around without feeling like I was being slapped in the face by a commercial for something related to Mother's Day. Radio. TV. Computer ads. It felt like those stupid Jane Seymour commercials were on every other minute. I was ready to chuck something at the TV if I saw her toss her hair and paint those stupid hearts one more time.
The commercial situation reached its pinnacle on the day before Mother's Day. I was at home trying to clean and had the TV on for background noise. Since Mother's Day was the next day, EVERY commercial was a Mother's Day commercial. After seeing Jane for the fifth time in less than an hour, I turned the TV off and fell into a heap on my kitchen floor and sobbed. I can't think of another time in my life when I felt so sorry for myself.
As I sat and wallowed, a dreadful thought came to my mind - it was late in the afternoon on the day before Mother's Day, and I hadn't done anything for my mother-in-law. No card had been sent, no flowers ordered. Nothing. She had been a rock and support for me during my entire marriage, but especially since my mom died. She never tried to replace my mom but stepped in to support me at a time when I really needed it. Here was an opportunity to show her how much I loved and appreciated her and what she had done for me, and I had spent so much time feeling sorry for myself that I nearly missed it.
Luckily, I was able to recover and get some flowers ordered because of the time difference and no one was the wiser. Except me. I felt much wiser after that experience. My situation hadn't changed, but my attitude did. Taking the time to show gratitude to someone that I loved made all the difference. And now, when I start to slip into self pity, I think of something or someone I am grateful for and try to do something to show that gratitude. And it makes all the difference.
As this Mother's Day approaches, take a moment to show appreciation to someone who has done something for you. You'll feel better. I promise.
*I don't actually hate Jane Seymour, but "Strongly Disliking Jane Seymour" didn't have the same ring to it as a title. (grin)
**If you need a fabulous way to show someone you appreciate them, head over to this blog post and enter the contest to win one of my CD's for you and someone you love!