Receiving

Last Monday night was the wrap up of my writing group’s current 8 week session.  At the conclusion of the night, our facilitator asked us to take turns acknowledging each other.   Each person took a turn on the hot seat and listened to what the others had to say.   My gut clenched.  I have been in groups and seminars where we have done this kind of thing before and I find it so uncomfortable.  I have absolutely no problem and actually welcome the opportunity to give others my heartfelt compliments.    Giving is easy.   Receiving is so hard.  When you give, you are in control.   When you receive, you are vulnerable. 

My children know this about me.  They conspire to teach me to receive.  It is almost a contest with them, who can do something or give me something to make me cry. 

Stinkers.

At the age of 16, my son Matt surprised me with a long white box tied with a satin ribbon.  Inside was a dozen long stemmed red roses for my birthday.   Tears started to flow even before I opened the box.

Working long hours for weeks on end, one Sunday Matt walked into the kitchen and told me to shut down the computer.  

“You’ve been working too hard Mom.  I’m taking you to the movies.

 Now anytime “There’s Something About Mary” pops up on TV, the movie we saw that afternoon, I always sit and watch it remembering how we laughed that day.

There is a special gift I received in 2005.   It was a few years after my divorce and I still felt the pain of knowing the impact the divorce must have had on my kids.   I went to visit Jill who lived in Missouri at the time.  When I arrived she told me that she had a surprise for me, a special gift for Mother’s Day. 

Get in the car Mom.  We’re going down to the Lake of the Ozarks for a drive.”

I thought she might have found a quaint little restaurant or special hiking trail for us to enjoy and I felt excited.    Lake of the Ozarks is vast and winding.  The drive through the hills along the edge of the lake  is breathtaking.  Windows down, the springtime cool air filled the car with the soft scent of budding flowers and pine.  Knowing it to be my favorite, Jill put on The Best of Van Morrison and we sang along off key to every song.

“Where are we going?”  I asked periodically.

“You’ll see.  It’s a surprise.”  Jill answered.

The car slipped around a corner and I saw a sign.  “National Mother’s Shrine 10 Miles.  I held my breath and looked at Jill.  She smiled and I knew it was our destination.   In a few minutes we pulled off the highway to the Mary, Mother of the Church Shrine.  My watering eyes took in the lovely woodland setting.  Jill turned to me and handed me a bulky envelope.  I opened the package to find a gold book of remembrance with a one page inscription:

May the Spirit of Mary’s Son, Jesus, be with you always as you share in the joy of Motherhood. 

Kathleen A. O’Dwyer

has been engraved in granite on the

Mothers’ Wall

at the

Mary, Mother of the Church Shrine

Section B Block 12, Row 11 

Lake of the Ozarks

Laurie, Missouri   

Jill handed me some much needed tissues as we walked to the shrine.   The statue of Mary gleamed in the sunlight and welcomed us with open arms.   I touched the huge granite wall at the base of the statue, running my hand over the names of so many mothers and grandmothers, wondering what I had done to deserve this honor.   Jill asked me if I liked my gift and I told her it was the best gift I had ever received.

Giving is easy.   But thanks to my children I know that receiving is a blessing.

4 Comments

  1. Comment by Celina

    Posted on September 19, 2009 at 4:53 am

    You are both a brother and a mother to me. I love you blood brother Kathy o’dweyer

  2. Comment by Celina

    Posted on September 19, 2009 at 4:53 am

    You are both a brother and a mother to me. I love you blood brother Kathy o’dweyer

  3. Comment by Kathy

    Posted on September 22, 2009 at 8:55 am

    Celina – I feel the same about you! Love to you.

  4. Comment by Kathy

    Posted on September 22, 2009 at 8:55 am

    Celina – I feel the same about you! Love to you.

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