So another Mother’s Day has come and gone. Grateful for my mother past and grateful for my wife present. It means enough to see her smile, to smell some flowers, to read a card, and maybe bite into some dark chocolate.
She rides off on her Pink Panther to get some energy for the rest of the day. A day mothers are especially recognized in churches all around the country. A day that a lot of mothers avoid. Maybe they don’t want the sympathy. Maybe they don’t look forward to the long hug followed by the pained expression or the mention of loss on a day that is supposed to be about gain. They don’t want to hear, “I am so sorry…”
It’s a day when kids call but a day when one phone call goes silent. The contrast is striking. It cuts, it hurts. It’s the hurt we don’t talk about, nothing to be said, really. What words work? They bring more pain. Those tears so close would quickly surface and overflow a beautiful face on a beautiful day. The cost would be great, the benefit nil.
So I say, “You okay?” I get the nod. I know—dumb question, no real answer. But a needed question, she knows I know. A little. I know only a little. I grew up around a mother—my mother, who had three girls—all mothers. I’ve been living with a mother for the past 37 years but I know nothing.
“I could be a girl,” I tease. She rolls her eyes. “Hey, I’m a psychologist, mostly female, I write, just about all female, and don’t get me started on my baking.”
“Andy, you don’t have a clue.”
“Don’t forget my watercolors,” I remind her. I know she’s right, that’s what makes it funny, at least at the right time. And now is not the time.
I tread lightly.
I know my insensitive last-minute supermarket foray is not the answer. This year, I stumbled into something right. An accident of sorts. Last week our daughter and son called us at the same time from different states. Our daughter called my wife’s phone, our son called mine. We held the phones close to each other.
“Hey, next week let’s do a Zoom conference call,” I suggested.
We all knew it, no one said it, no one had to. We filled the empty space with laugher, with kidding, with the good stuff. It’s still there, and so are we. Computer cameras shook, stories were told, I got confused and remembered my dad had a Lazy Boy chair to which he could retire. The hour went fast, no time to retreat. No space to hide, just time to listen. And that’s what I did.
Well, that’s another Mother’s Day. We were together in virtual reality. Kind’a how we live now–on several levels. It’s our family. And well that’s almost enough for now…until the Lazy Boy is delivered.
Hey, When Sunday Smiled is written by a grieving parent who learns how to live while hiking in the wilderness. It now has its own inspirational song and is up for Best Christian Memoir. Also, look for my next book coming out later this year. Check out both on my website, Andymdavidson.