Only One Day Late |

We needed buns for family game night so I was off to the store.  Window’s down, radio’s on and Luke Bryan is singing the words, “I believe most people are good and most mamas oughta qualify for sainthood.”  Made me think of my own mom and just like that I’m reminded that tomorrow is Mother’s Day.  How many times over the 63 years of my life have I been startled by the sudden realization that tomorrow is Mother’s Day!  On those year’s it’s a mad dash to the Hallmark Card aisle to join the other dozen or so (mostly) men hoping there’s still a decent selection of cards.  No one makes eye contact we all know we should have done this a week ago and we really meant to.  If I get it in the mail today, she’ll get it by Monday…only one day late.

Just inside the front door are buckets of carnations and roses conveniently placed just for guys like me.  Another reminder that tomorrow is Mother’s Day, but I just need buns.  Past the cash registers, last aisle on the left for buns and that’s when I realize something I already knew but never really mattered; the Hallmark cards are just before the bread aisle.  As I walk past the aisle I pause to watch a modest gathering of (mostly) men looking for just the right card.  I almost joined them but just couldn’t do it.  After all, I just needed buns.

Back in the car and now it’s Ed Sheeran singing, “You were an angel in the shape of my mum, When I fell down you’d be there holding me up, Spread your wings as you go, When God takes you back, He’ll say, “Hallelujah, you’re home.”  And I’m glad to be alone in the car as the tears come.  The one person who makes Mother’s Day Mother’s Day for me left this world a few months ago and I’m still trying to get my heart around that reality.  Mom’s gone and, though I believe she is in a good place experiencing a good, good Father who loves us all in unimaginable ways, I miss her.  I’m wishing I was still standing in front of the Hallmark cards looking for just the right one rehearsing what I was going to write to let her know how much I love and appreciate her.

It’s not regret I’m feeling; that I could have been a better son or that she could have been a better mom.  I’m sure there was room for that with both of us but none of that matters in the end, not really.  What really matters is that she was my mom and I was her son and we belonged to each other in familiar ways.  Isn’t that what family really is, belonging to one another in familiar ways?  And it’s usually our moms’ who first show us what that means.

That evening most of our kids, their spouses and our grandkids came over for a cookout and game night.  One of our daughters is expecting their first in September, another one just finished school and graduates later this week.  My son and his wife just had their second child in December.  They named him Grant Thomas, I like that a lot.  We all had our turns with him during the evening.  We ate, we talked, we laughed and schemed our way through a game of Catan until midnight.  We were being family, making memories.

I was grateful on the eve of the first one without you, mom that we were having a family game night.  It reminded that, although no one will ever take your place, I have people in my life who make me feel I belong in familiar ways. Thanks for giving me that legacy, I hope I can do it half as well as you did.  I wanted you to know that I started this on Mother’s Day but couldn’t get it finished until today…only one day late.  That’s another thing I loved about you.  It never seemed to matter if I was one day late, you were just glad for the time to talk.  Happy Mother’s Day, mom.  You’re missed but not forgotten and forever loved by the ones who knew you as mom.