As with any holiday approaching, I tiptoe towards the date. The next, Mother's Day, will probably be the hardest holiday I've had to face yet. All other holidays are tied to multiple people, the entire family, but my memories of Mother's Day are tied to just the two of us.
I remember being so excited on my first Mother's Day. Austin wasn't even a year old so he certainly didn't know what the day was all about. I felt so blessed though to be a mother, especially his mother, and looked forward to a day of celebrating this gift.
My first Mother's Day present was a framed poem with his baby hand prints dipped in blue paint. I still have that frame, hanging in my bedroom. Over time, I would look at those little prints and be amazed at how quickly his hands (and the rest of him) were growing.
Through the years, I've been given jewelry, more hand prints, and flowers. The gifts never really mattered, it was the giver and his sincere love. I can remember his chubby little hands, proudly presenting me with gifts he'd made at school or picked out with his Dad. He could hardly ever keep a secret so I usually knew what I was getting before that day arrived.
Some Mother's Days, they planted flowers in the yard as a surprise for me. Some days, we would take day trips, such as picnics in the park and a visit to the zoo. Wherever we were, we were together, and that was always the best present a mother could ask for.
Last Mother's Day, Austin asked Tim to take him to the store. He bought my present with his own money. In the past, Tim had always paid for the boys and it touched me that Austin saved up for this occasion. Tim said he knew exactly what he wanted and where it was. Apparently he had picked it out on previous shopping trips.
It was a teapot, the kind with a whistle. Something I had always wanted and mentioned in passing. He was listening. I like to drink hot tea when it is cold outside, when I'm not feeling well, or just as a change from coffee. Every time I used it, I'd smile, thinking of Austin. At 13, I expected him to outgrow Mother's Day for awhile. I expected it would be a holiday he would come back to appreciate as an adult. As always, he surprised me.
The teapot remains on the back of my stove. The first time I used it after Austin passed, I cried. I had poured the water into it as always, without thinking. When I heard the whistle, I was taken back to last Mother's Day.
Thirteen Mother's Days were not enough. I treasure every one, every moment that he was in my life. Of all the gifts he ever gave me, his love was by far the best. Having Austin was one of the greatest things I ever did. I was and am proud to be his mother. I miss him with every breath.