Debora Coty and her grandkids.

Every year I have this question casually lobbed at me from my crazy-busy kids and grands. My answer? “Not a thing. Nobody sells what I want.”

Of course they are baffled (and miffed at my ‘uncooperation’) because they had just that in mind – a thing. Pretty jewelry, a bottle of pricey perfume, a colorful bouquet, a case of Cadbury with almonds (hey, I’m trying to cut down) … a thing. Some special trinket to demonstrate their love for me.

I get it. It’s the simplest solution to the same question I asked my grandma and still do ask my mama (now almost 90) on Mother’s Days past.

But if anyone had the time to sit a spell, sip a cup of hot spiced tea with me and look me squarely in the eyes, I’d give them the long answer. The real answer.

I want your presence, my darling child. I want to be with you, to have your undivided attention, even for ten straight minutes. I want to hear about the nuances of your day, to share your triumphs and near-tragedies, to see the light sparkle in your eyes and feel Papa God’s strength flowing through you.

I want to revel in your uniqueness and bask in the special qualities I was privileged to help you develop, which you casually exude today with no notion of your incredible-ness in my eyes.

I want the depth of your gaze to transport me back to a watercolor time when you were a tiny, squishy, brand new person sitting on my knee, happy to spend hours on end together reading “I’ll love you forever, my baby you’ll be …” and singing at the top of our lungs, “Jesus loves me, this I know …”

And I want – no, I need – to hear you laugh. I loved your laughter. More than anything. I still do, although it’s harder now to illicit a chuckle from you as you fly about, the slave of your to-do list.

I understand, I truly do. I empathize. I fear that you learned the tyranny of the to-do list from me. And I don’t begrudge you a single smidgeon of time or energy spent elsewhere. The necessity of living. Of raising your own family.

But I do miss you. You’ve always been my favorite. Among the thousands of children I’ve interfaced with in my lifetime, you’re the one who lifts my heart and makes me feel young and vivacious and full of hope once again.

So it’s true, dear piece of my heart. On this special day to honor mothers, I don’t want a thing. I have too many things already. I would rather you not spend a penny of your hard-earned money on me; use it for the needs of your precious growing family. That would give me the most joy and fulfillment.

But if you can somehow find a spare minute or two, please … come sit a spell.