How I Screwed Up Brooke’s 1st Mother’s Day

Friday, I had the opportunity to play in a charity golf tournament at a really nice course here in Kansas City. I’ve told you before that I’m awful at golf. Not in the sneaky, humble way of saying I’m bad but I’m actually really good. Trust me, I’m terrible at golf.

It sucks when you suck at something as bad as I suck at golf. We had an awesome time anyway, despite the chunks of rough I left laying in my wake.

On the walk to the green, one of my good friends asked how old I was when we had Henley, our fifth.

It took some mental math before I realized that I was 30 when our “baby” was born. I’m not sure if I blocked that out of my mind or what, but saying out loud that I was 30 when our fifth kid was born, even surprised me.

With that in mind plus the fact that Mother’s Day was a few days away, I had a quick flashback to the very first Mother’s Day in our family.


2004. We had owned our small little house for six months or so, the one we brought Kamden home to in January of that year. One year and four days after our wedding date.

I’m sure it was my own excuses and lack of initiative, but Mother’s Day snuck up like a ninja that year. And for it being my first one, I was incredibly unprepared.

I’ll spare you my lame excuses, here was the reality of what happened that May. The week of Mother’s Day I had the best of intentions. But like intentions often do, they stay in the good plans area of my mind that never see the light of day.

Friday came and went, Saturday came and went. Both with the thoughts of how I’ll sneak away and go buy something amazing or do something really thoughtful for Brooke.

Sunday morning around 5am, I hear Kamden cry out. Oh crap I thought, it’s here. And I have nothing. Brooke nursed Kamden, and they both fell back asleep.

Being the amazing husband I was at that time, I went to Walgreen’s. To buy her favorite candy and some cheap drugstore flowers. I bought a card too if I remember correctly. From a drugstore.


I raced home, scribbled out a quick note on the card and scattered her favorite candy and the flowers around. The front seat of her car. In our garage.

When we go out the door to church and get in the car, she’ll be so surprised and blown away by my thoughtfulness, I thought. The reality didn’t quite play out that way.

She certainly was surprised when she saw the array of Raisinets, Peanut M&M’s and crappy roses beautifully strewn in the cracks of her car seat. Brooke is a low maintenance, low gift expectation wife but even this low blow was too much for her.

As I drove us to church, there was a silence. The one where you know your sweet-talking words have no power over the disappointment you just provided. That quiet then grew into small tears and an honest conversation about how I missed the mark.

Thankfully Brooke gave me grace that morning. Sure she was hurt by my thoughtlessness and my clear lack of initiative, but she acknowledged that I’m work in progress, like she is.

Like I still am. Like we all are.

Today is Brooke’s 12th Mother’s Day. I’ll spare you the emotional things I feel about Brooke, you can read that here. And thoughts on my own mom here.

But I will conclude with a lesson I learned with one of the random Mother’s Day papers all of our kids brought home from preschool or school this week.

Addi is biased of course, but check out the right side of this page where she was asked to check which attributes her own mother displayed.


She checked them all. But more than that, she circled LOVING about a dozen times.

Moms, thanks for the way you love your kids. Love conquers all. It trumps the shortcomings, the mistakes, the failures.

Keep loving. Especially when your husband goes to Walgreen’s on Mother’s Day morning.

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