The gift that brings the most joy is not something that can be put in a box and tied up with a bow. The greatest gift is time.

For Mother’s Day this year, I was given exactly that. My children, their spouses, their children and their in-laws joined as at our home for brunch. My husband suggested it and did most of the planning. We teamed up for some of the prep & then he did all the clean-up. It was a great morning with good people, good food and good conversation.

Today, I’m thankful for the gift of time.

Young Moms, especially, may enjoy a little pampering. As hard as it is to raise children to adults, they deserve it. (Year ’round, I might add.) But the joy in that is that it really is a gift of time – time for themselves. Their focus is usually on the care and development of their children, often at the unfortunate sacrifice of their own self-care. They might also be juggling another job outside the home, caring for parents, or volunteering in the community. The gift of time for themselves truly is a great gift.

But, at my age, 50+, I am lucky enough to have the opportunity and the means so that if I need a little pampering, I can do that. If I need new clothes, I buy them. If I want to eat out, we go. If I need a break, we plan a vacation.

What I can’t force, and what brings the most joy, is my family spending time with me.

I am thankful that they frequently do. We see them all several times a month, though not usually all together. Hearing about their week, plans they are making, job challenges and new opportunities is exciting. Listening to their opinions on world events, favorite sports teams or local news is interesting. Playing with our grandchildren and watching them grow week by week is priceless. Seeing the family that we raised now raising families of their own is wondrous. The gift of their time for me truly is a great gift.

My family gave me exactly what I hoped for on Mother’s Day. They gave me their time.

What are you thankful for?