As May 14 and Mother’s Day approaches, many family members struggle to choose the perfect gift for their moms.

The gift on the top of the wish list for most mothers is to simply spend time with their children, regardless of whether they are still kids or grown up.

That’s true for Markham mother Jo Wolfe, who just celebrated her 91st birthday. “As Time goes by, it’s hard to remember the difficulties.” She had five children including twins. Markham has always been her home, except for brief stays in St. Catharines and Ottawa.

“It’s great to have roots here,” she adds, “a good place for a family.”

Now a grandmother of 15, she still lives in Unionville at the Amica retirement residence. She remains happy to have much of her family remain close by.

“It’s just great to have grandchildren too,” she says proudly. “It’s been quite a joy to see how they’re growing and getting along with their lives.”

For her, this is a natural extension of what she says when asked about the best part of being a mother.

“Seeing how your children grow and the joy they bring to others,” she answers quickly. “It’s just a great feeling.”

Of course, this kind of maturity and wisdom doesn’t happen overnight. Understanding that the hard work and dedication we celebrate on Mother’s Day will grow into joy is a lifelong journey. Younger mothers have different perspectives.

“It’s far more work than I thought it would be,” laughs Krystyna McNulty, mother of three girls in Markham all under 12. “I would sum motherhood up as ‘highs and lows’.  There are a lot of great moments day-to-day, but also as many challenging ones.”

This thought is echoed by Leslie Thorpe-Dermody, a mom of a 10-month-old boy.

“I thought I knew what fatigue was,” says Thorpe-Dermody, “Two nights in, and I realized I didn’t know jack about sleep deprivation. I realized I didn’t know jack about anything. Nothing can prepare you for how hard it really is.”

Naturally, the reality of the work involved isn’t without its reward.

“A love so present and powerful it’s almost overwhelming,” Thorpe-Dermody explains. “The emotions I’ve experienced as a new mom are unlike anything I’ve ever felt.”
“The best hugs or bedtime cuddles or when they yell ‘I love you Mommy’ from across the school yard at drop-off,” adds McNulty. “I cherish these memories and make the rest of it all seem worthwhile.”

All three moms are in agreement about the best part of motherhood. They all spoke about watching their children grow, change, and become independent. “If a young mother asked me for advice—I don’t think I’d give any advice, to be honest,” says Wolfe. “Every mother has to find their own way. People tend to do pretty well on their own.”

Mother’s Day is May 14 and mothers will be celebrated around the world.