Years ago (could it be as many as three?!) my husband gave me the best Mother’s Day gift ever: a gift certificate from a caterer for three family meals to be delivered to the house. Words cannot express the delight I felt. Having dinner cooked for me and mine is almost as good as a date night when I don’t have to feed my offspring at all.
I treasured those gift certificates. I held on to them, banking them against a day when I would Really Need Them. They sat in my in-box and sent off a submarine-like ping to my subconscious: help is always on hand.
The thing is, by the time you are up to your eyeballs in the kind of turmoil that makes a day when You Really Need Them, the gift certificates aren’t much good anyway. Because ordering from a caterer requires Advanced Planning.
And another thing: I began to look on the gift certificates, not as a blessing that would free me from preparing dinner, but as a manifestation of my having reached Rock Bottom. They went from being an ace up my sleeve to being something more like a lifeline, a lifeline that was a sign that I was drowning. I don’t like to think about drowning or needing saving or Rock Bottom, so I did not use them.
In fit of spring-induced energy, I finally, finally tackled the towering pile of papers in my office, and in amongst them was the gift certificate, and I decided, it’s time.
I don’t need saving. I am not drowning. I am not at rock bottom. But I do intend to give myself a week off from dinner preparation before the next Mother’s Day comes along. A delightful gift, pure and simple. Spending it out.