Since my father died seven years ago (side note - how has it been seven years already?), there is much in the dynamic between my mom and I that has changed. As that shift has led to myriad discussions about her life and her experiences, I have learned so much more about her and the reservoirs of strength that she possesses that I often didn't see as I was growing up. I see it so much more clearly now. She will be a mother forever. As far as I can tell, she will never stop reminding me to drive carefully, to remember who I am, or that I married up (significantly). She will never stop panicking when she hears about bad weather wherever it is we are living. She will never stop worrying that every flight I board is going to be the target of the next terrorist event. And can I just say
Conversations with my mom - even the ones that don't always end well (ladies and gentlemen, I give you our last discussion about the U.S. Presidential campaign) - are ones that I cherish. In each of them, I am reminded that I still need to be the man my mother raised me to be. I know that I am lucky to still have those conversations. I don't take that for granted.
I get to hear the conversations my wife, the stunningly patient and mighty fine SML, has with our children. We live so far away from our children and she doesn't take her conversations with our children for granted either. She talks frequently with our daughters and I see her mothering them in each of those conversations. Although her conversations with TMFKATB right now are limited to weekly emails (except today - Skype's taking a beating today as missionaries from around the world get to call their moms!), she mothers him in each of those exchanges as well. She loves each of our children fiercely and yet has given each of them the self-confidence to live their lives to the fullest. My children are who they are because of their amazing mother.
I am indebted to the women, as mothers or mothers-to-be, who have made my life what it is and there are not enough words to express my gratitude.
To my mother-in-law for raising an amazing daughter who decided it might be fun to take me on as a husband and partner
To my daughter, Our Lady of Awesome, for blazing your own trail as you mother our two grandchildren
To my daughter, CAL, for incorporating what you learned from your mother as you embark on a career making the lives of terribly ill children better
To my wife for, well, everything. It rare that words fail me but I find it most difficult to express what you've done as a mother to our children. You amaze me every day.
To my mother for still raising me, even to this day. I'm a better man for it. And I can't thank you enough for conversations like this:
Mothers. They rule.
Happy Mothers Day