We bid farewell to Huw and Nina this morning. A lingering emptiness hovered over the rest of the day, tempered by the prospect of rejoining them for a November visit in Kansas City. Our friendship grew from their chance meeting with our youngest daughter 18 years ago in France. We were then “pen pals” for 5 year before meeting in person. We shared the excitement of London’s selection to host the 2012 Olympics and the following day we shared the horrors of being in the epicenter of 52 deaths at the hands of terrorists in London. They were present in Kansas City for the marriage of our son, Peter, and the college graduation of our daughter, Alexis. They have become an important part of the story of our family. Until we meet again…
It is Mother’s Day in the United States. Europe honors their Mothers at a different time of the year. I owe the gift of a happy childhood to 2 women, my mother and her mother. The 450 miles that separated my home from grandmother’s home in pre-interstate America meant that I only saw her once or twice a year. However, the quality of her presence was more important than the quantity of our time together. Her eyes and her smile radiated boundless love and pride in me. She died nearly 40 years ago but has been with me every day of my life.
My mother was the architect of my childhood. She held my hand in the best of times and she held me in the painful ones. She taught me how to grow into adulthood yet not outgrow childlike wonder that sparks the imagination and gives appreciation for the little things of life. Wishing her a happy day once each year seems so inadequate compared to the gift that she is to me every day of the year.
Christine has always been the star parent within our home. She raised our children to be the good parents that they are, and in the process taught me to be a better parent than I would otherwise have been. She continues as a source of great joy in the lives of our grandchildren.
Not all of us have had happy childhoods. Not all of us had good parents. Life is a lottery. Some of us pulled winning numbers and some of us did not. For the unlucky among us I hope that Mother’s Day can be a time to accept that there are things that can not be changed. That it is a day to find the courage to change the kind of person/parent that you are, and a day to find the wisdom to know the difference.
Peace Everyone. Pete