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My dream Mother’s Day involves lots of funnone of it planned or prepared by me.

It could be a picnic and park day. It could be a walk or mini-golf or ice cream. It could be a trip to the zoo or a greenhouse. It could be a backyard barbecue. It doesn’t really matter what we’re doing.

The gift of it would be 1) My family is all together and 2) I’m not responsible for anything.

Doesn’t that sound glorious?

A day with my family where I didn’t have to pack the lunches and diaper bag. A day when I don’t have to be in charge of putting on sunscreen or pushing the stroller. A day when I don’t have to break up the fights or cut up the grapes or change any diapers. A day when I don’t have to come up with the plan and execute it. A day when I can just be and enjoy my family without the work, the stress, the mental load, the responsibility that can weigh me down on other days.

Truly, that would be the greatest gift.

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Sometimes for Mother’s Day, I’ve been given the gift of time and space, like going to get a massage. I am so thankful for those gifts. I do need time to myself when things are quiet and slow to recharge. Sometimes for Mother’s Day, I’ve also been given the gift of deciding what we could do that day. And those days have been so fun and filled with lots of wonderful time outside and tons of takeout.

But this year, I want to celebrate with my kids and without decisions.

I want precious time with my family. And I want to have the space to enjoy my family without any of the usual stressors I deal with most days. I want to sit back on the blanket and just soak in all the beautiful things about the day—the dandelion bouquets, the giggles, the sticky, sweet kisses. I want to watch them do cartwheels without them having to yell, “Mommy, watch!” . . . because I already am. I am completely present.

I don’t want my mind wandering, already thinking ahead to when we need to reapply sunscreen or when the next diaper change should be. I don’t want to worry if I packed the Band-Aids and water bottles or not. I don’t want to be thinking about what’s for dinner and when I need to start preparing it.

In my everyday life, those things are always on my mind, and that’s with a husband who is present and totally involved in my and the kids’ lives. He makes their lunches most days. He chases them around all weekend. He’ll stay up late packing the diaper bag with me for a trip in the morning. But I’m usually planning those things. I’m usually the one suggesting what to pack and when to pack. I just like to be prepared.

Recently I was telling some friends about this dream day and one of them asked, “But could you really do it?”

Could I really sit back and not plan or prepare or pack?

“Well, maybe I would whisper, ‘Don’t forget the sunscreen!’ on the way out the door,” I laughed.

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But later, I thought about this and realized, no. This dream day, this gift, would really require me to let go and just enjoy. Maybe something would get left at home. Maybe it wouldn’t go exactly how it would if I had planned or packed, but isn’t that the point? To receive the gift—the gift I didn’t have to do anything for, and enjoy it? This beautiful gift of time with the ones I love.

To me, that’s far more valuable than something like making sure the car was loaded ahead of time.

Whatever your dream for Mother’s Day looks like, I hope you’re able to have that type of day. I hope you feel loved, appreciated, and refreshed. I hope you get all the hugs and all the kisses and feel deep in your soul your worth. And no matter what is going on, I hope you get a moment to look around at your family and soak them all in.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

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Kim Howard

Kim Howard is a mom to three kids. She has a Ph.D. in Curriculum Studies and is a former teacher. Check out her debut picture book, Grace and Box, and learn more about her at Kim Howard Books and

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