"It's really hard to look at."

By Michelle Tauber
Updated May 17, 2017
Courtesy Caryn Beaver

Caryn Beaver was not expecting the gift she received on Mother’s Day.

The Orlando, Fla., mom of four had been excitedly looking forward to the holiday as she does every year: “That is probably my most important holiday — more important than my birthday. It was a choice I made, to be a mom.”

This year, her own mom, Margaret, gifted Beaver and her sister-in-law with identical cookie bouquets from Cookies by Design in Orlando — but the two bouquets had one key difference.

“My mom typed the same message online for both cards: ‘You are a terrific mom!'” says Beaver, a second-grade teacher. “When she picked them up, she didn’t look at them until right before she gave them to us.”

Courtesy Caryn Beaver

While one card featured the intended message, the other read, “You are a terrible mom!”

On Sunday, “My mom came in the room with both of the bouquets and goes, ‘I have a little story before I give them to you guys. They got the card on one of them right, but the other is not right.’ She was absolutely mortified — she just about died. I said, ‘Well, I’ll take [the terrible] one.’ Because I didn’t want my sister-in-law to get that from my mom.”

When Beaver’s brother called the store to report the mistake, he was told, “Oh well. These things happen,” she says. The store offered a 25 percent refund for the combined total of the two bouquets. Beaver says her mom has been a customer at the store for years.

“Even though I know it was a mistake, and I know it was not meant to be, it is really hard to look at,” says Beaver, 41, who is a single mom to daughters Alaina, 11, Mallory, 8, and 5-year-old twins Claire and Avery.

Courtesy Caryn Beaver

Beaver has faced extraordinary challenges as a mom: Claire, who was born with a rare congenital heart defect, has undergone two open-heart surgeries. The second operation, at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, was a result of Beaver’s tireless campaigning and researching on her daughter’s behalf.

“There were times when she was in the hospital in her first year when they said she was not going to make it, and I never gave up hope,” she says. “I was her advocate. She needed it. I made that my job for the past six years, plus raising three other littles.”

Courtesy Caryn Beaver

And although her Mother’s Day was not quite how she imagined it, she still felt pampered.

“The amount of stuff my kids showered me with was awesome,” she says. “I’m a Girl Scout troop leader too, and my troop decorated mugs, so my daughter Mallory had a mug for me filled with OJ and soggy Frosted Flakes when I got up that day. It was more than I ever expected.

“It was a great day.”