After 21 years of marriage, I discovered a new way of keeping the spark of
A little while ago, I started to go out with another woman. It was really
my wife's idea.
"I know that you love her," she said one day, taking me by surprise.
"But I love YOU," I protested.
"I know, but you also love her."
The other woman that my wife wanted me to visit was my mother, who has
been a widow for 19 years. The demands of my work and my three children
had made it possible to visit her only occasionally. That night I called
to invite her to go out for dinner and a movie.
"What's wrong, are you okay?" she asked. My mother is the type of woman
who suspects that a late night call or a surprise invitation is a sign of
"I thought that it would be nice to spend some time with you," I
"Just the two of us?" She thought about it for a moment, then said, "I
would like that very much."
That Friday after work, as I drove over to pick her up I was a bit
When I arrived at her house, I noticed that she, too, seemed to be nervous
about our "date." She waited in the door with her coat on. She had curled
her hair and was wearing the dress that she had worn to celebrate her last
wedding anniversary. She smiled with a face that was as radiant as an
"I told my friends that I was going to go out with my son, and they were
impressed," she said, as she got into the car. "They can't wait to hear
about our meeting."
We went to a restaurant that, although not elegant, was very nice and
My mother took my arm as if she were the First Lady. After we sat down, I
had to read the menu. Her eyes could only read large print. Half way
through the entrees, I lifted my eyes and saw Mom sitting there staring at
me. A nostalgic smile was on her lips.
"It was I who used to have to read the menu when you were small," she
"Then it's time that you relax and let me return the favour," I responded.
During the dinner we had an agreeable conversation - nothing extraordinary
- but catching up on recent events of each other's life. We talked so
much that we missed the movie. As we arrived at her house later, she
said, "I'll go out with you again, but only if you let me invite you."
"How was your dinner date?" asked my wife when I got home.
"Very nice. Much more so than I could have imagined," I answered.
A few days later my mother died of a massive heart attack. It happened so
suddenly that I didn't have a chance to do anything for her.
Some time later I received an envelope with a copy of a restaurant receipt
from the same place my mother and I had dined. An attached note read:
"Son, I paid this bill in advance. I was almost sure that I couldn't be
there but, nevertheless, I paid for two plates - one for you and the other
for your wife. You will never know what that night meant for me. I love
At that moment I understood the importance of saying, in time: "I LOVE
YOU" and to give our loved ones the time that they deserve. Nothing in
life is more important than your family. Give them the time they deserve,
because these things cannot be put off till "some other time."
Somebody said it takes about six weeks to get back to normal after you've
had a baby ... somebody doesn't know that once you're a mother, "Normal,"
Somebody said you learn how to be a mother by instinct ... somebody never
took a three-year-old shopping.
Somebody said being a mother is boring ... somebody never rode in a car
driven by a teenager with a driver's permit.
Somebody said if you're a "good" mother, your child will "turn out well".
Somebody thinks a child comes with directions and a guarantee.
Somebody said "good" mothers never raise their voices ... somebody never
came out the back door just in time to see her child hit a golf ball
through the neighbour's kitchen window.
Somebody said you don't need an education to be a mother . Somebody never
helped a fourth grader with his math.
Somebody said you can't love the fifth child as much as you love the
first. Somebody doesn't have five children.
Somebody said a mother can find all the answers to her child-rearing
questions in the books ... somebody never had a child stuff beans up his
nose or in his ears.
Somebody said the hardest part of being a mother is labor and delivery.
Somebody never watched her "baby" get on the bus for the first day of
kindergarten, or on a plane headed for military "boot camp."
Somebody said a mother can do her job with her eyes closed and one hand
tied behind her back ... somebody never organized seven giggling Brownies
to sell cookies.
Somebody said a mother's job is done when her last child leaves home....
somebody never had grandchildren.
Somebody said your mother knows you love her, so you don't need to tell
her... somebody isn't a mother.
Pass this along to all the "mothers" in your life.