I don't want anything for Mother's Day.
I don't want any flowers or candy or perfume. I don't want to be taken to a restaurant. I don't want new shoes or a trip to the day spa (okay, that's a lie I totally want a trip to the day spa).
I don't want anything for Mother's Day. Why? Because I have everything I need and another mother doesn't.
I am not saying this because I am such a righteous person that walks around doing good deeds. I don't say this because I hate Mother's Day.
I don't say this to make you feel guilty or because I think I'm better than you. (I let my kid eat jello for breakfast this morning... I am NOT better than you.)
I don't say this because I don't love being a mom or because I hate my mother. I love my mother. LOVE my mother.
I say this because again, I have everything I need and another mother doesn't.
Before I go any further I want to tell you a little bit about what our life was like in 2008 (and 2009 and part of 2010). The company I was working for closed. Our paychecks bounced and they shut their doors. That same day my husband took a $7 an hour pay cut. I came home and our income was more than cut in half.
We were sitting on a mountain of student loan debt and we had about $3 in our checking account.
There were low points. Points when we had to carry spare change to the water department to pay our delinquent bill and beg them to turn our water back on.
Points when we had just enough money in our checking account to pay $25 for one used tire to go on my car.
I have never gone hungry. But there were low points before my husband and I got out of debt when I saw desperation. When I lived on the brink of poverty.
And honestly, at that time I am grateful we did not have a child. Sometimes I close my eyes and the fear of those years comes flooding back to me. Add a child to that and I multiply that fear by infinity.
So this year here are few things that I want instead of a card or a gift or flowers.
I'd rather a mom in Nepal live to see her baby's face than get flowers.
Did you know that in Nepal 12 women die everyday giving birth? A simple birth kit of soap, gauze, a razor and a sandwich bag could save her life.
I would rather a child in my own state go to school with a full belly than get candy.
I would rather a mom in my hometown be able to put her child in diapers than get a gift.
It costs about $936 a year to keep a baby in diapers. (Source) Because some parents can't afford the $18 a week it costs to diaper a child they will simply take off a dirty diaper, dump out the waste and put the diaper back on their child.
This isn't because they are lazy or stupid or ignorant. It is because they are living in a poverty that you and I will hopefully never know.
Again, I don't say this because I think I am above Mother's Day, because I sit on a throne of my own self-righteousness or because I am so noble or because I am just so above it all. I say this because I have been in need.
No, I have never had to scoop poop out of my child's diaper and put it back on. But if I close my eyes I can take myself back to the desperate moments when I wondered if we were going to make it out.
So this year instead of giving Mother's Day gifts. Instead of buying cards or candy or a gift my family will simply be donating diapers to our local food bank.
It's not huge. It's not life changing. But for a mother who has everything it's the best give I could receive.
What about you? What are you doing this Mother's Day?