Renee Winick mug

Renee Winick

It’s Mother’s Day weekend. A time to thank the moms out there for all that they do. As a mom, I definitely enjoy the acknowledgment and pampering that often comes with the special day. My only problem is that I have a tough time answering the question, “What do you want for Mother’s Day?”

I’m not the best at thinking of new gift ideas. I seem to always fall back to the traditional ideas of flowers, a gift card, some jewelry, or maybe brunch. The truth is, the Mother’s Day gifts that I’d actually like to receive from my kids can’t be wrapped in a box or tied up with a bow.

I’d have to say that the top of my gift wish list is something seemingly simple but increasingly rare: time. As my kids are getting older, it’s getting harder to find opportunities for our family to spend time together.

When I talk about spending time with each other, I don’t necessarily mean those “big deal” moments like vacations (although I’m obviously not opposed to them). Some of my favorite times are when we just hang out, like when we watch a show or movie together. Game night doesn’t even need to last the whole night — I’d happily take a couple of “game hours.” Going for a walk with one or both of my kids has become as precious to me as the finest jewel — and just about as rare!

When the kids were younger, I pretty much knew every thought that was in their heads at all times. That’s because we were always talking, sharing thoughts, and telling stories. As time has gone by, those special chats have become far less frequent. So, another gift idea would be a heaping cup of conversation. My husband and I sometimes joke that we’re living in a communication desert and we’re constantly begging for even a few drops of information.

I’m not naïve and I wouldn’t expect my kids to spend hours with me, sharing their deepest, darkest secrets. I’d be happy to have just a few extra chances to talk about what’s going on at school, their new favorite songs, the latest sports trades, or even whether or not I’m actually a “boomer.” I’m not picky — or proud.

The next gift that comes to mind is totally self-indulgent and greedy, but I’m going to ask for it anyway. A Mother’s Day gift that I wish my kids would wrap up for me is their understanding when I mess up. Even after sixteen years as a mom, I’m still making rookie mistakes. That’s because as they grow, evolve and learn, I’m doing the exact same thing.

Their firsts are my firsts, too. Same goes for trials, challenges, mistakes, and heart aches. We’re on this journey together. Sometimes I am able to lead the way and get us to exactly where we want to be without missing a step. Other times, I take the wrong path and we need to back track a bit. I appreciate their patience and promise that I’m doing my very best. Every single day.

The last gift is actually something that my children have already given me. That’s the incredible gift of being their mother. There was a time when I didn’t know if I’d get the chance to be a mom; so being doubly blessed with these two beautiful souls is the very best gift I’ll ever be given. Ever.

The only thing that makes their perfect gift to me even better is when they utter those three magical words: “Love you, too.” Other parents will understand my need to end every “Good night,” “Good bye,” “Drive carefully” or “Have a great day” that I say to the kids with, “Love you!” They’ll also know the bliss that comes from hearing back, “Love you, too.” Honestly, those words fill my happiness cup to the brim.

Mother’s Day is a special day for reasons as varied as the moms we celebrate. There are also countless ways to show mom our love and gratitude. As for my family, I’m really not all that concerned about what they put in those little wrapped packages. All I actually want is some time together, a nice conversation, and maybe the chance to give my kids an extra-long hug.

…and brunch. I love a good brunch.

Renee Winick has lived in Prior Lake for nearly two decades, where she resides with her husband and twin son and daughter.