Well, here's where I want to go this morning. Growing up I was always closer to my Dad than Mom. Mom was the disciplinarian in the family and Dad just wanted to be the good guy. As I got older, the gap widened and then at some point, well into adulthood, the relationship changed. My mother didn't have kids around and took care of Dad. The older I got, the more I appreciated their relationship.
We moved to Florida in 2011 to help Dad, who by then was taking care of Mom. She had Alzheimer's, and Dad was 89 - it was a lot to manage. Moving down here was the best thing in my life I've ever done, and it gave Sheila and me quality time with both of them.
I remember going out with Dad for lunch one day after our meeting at the Thursday morning Caregiver Support Group at the Friendship Centers. We were quietly arguing over his need to take a break from caregiving, because he would not leave her side except for these short excursions. He ended the discussion with,
"Look, your mother has taken care of me all these years. Now it's my turn to take care of her!"
As you get older, you see the world differently. You start to understand things you couldn't comprehend when you were younger. The older I got, the more I appreciated how much my mother and father were dedicated to each other, and yet still found time for their family. They built a life on love, honesty, and commitment.
I'm not a rear-view mirror guy, and I rarely look back. However, I wish I had told my mother how much she meant to me. I wish I had taken the time BEFORE Alzheimer's to sit and talk with Mom more often.
So, here's my point: Live your life with no regrets, especially where your mother is concerned. Take the time regularly to let her know how you feel about her. Life is full of surprises, not always good ones. Life is too short, and you don't want to be looking back saying, "I should have..." or as Sheila puts it, don't should on yourself.
For all you Moms out there, Happy Mother's Day. For most of you, you're the mortar that holds the bricks of your family together. You wear a long list of different hats as a mother, wife, friend, lover, business owner, photographer and the list goes on and on. No role compares with your never-ending commitment to motherhood!
Happy Mother's Day!
Photo Credit: Cantrell Portrait Design