I know little boys can be exasperating. We can be like wind up toys. On the go. Antsy. Impatient to go outside. "Do I really have to finish my homework first?" Like your answer is going to change if I ask again for the millionth time.
Then we grow into teenagers and we're still antsy. Impatient for our independence, attention turns to cars and girls and going out with friends. Little boys. Big boys. Not so different, really. "Do I really have to be home by eleven?" I know the answer before I ask. So I leave, knowing I will call ten minutes before my curfew to negotiate more time. So do you. You'll grant another half hour. I knew you would. It's a ballet. We both know the steps.
All too soon, though, that dance is over. A young man leaves home to strike out and make his mark on the world. But he doesn't go alone. He tucks you safely in his heart. You're there. Every beat.
One day, a lifetime later, in the Fall of his life and the twilight of yours, he finds himself back home. And we have the most profound moment. No words. They aren't necessary. I have a son of my own now. A young man, striking out to make his mark on the world. Your hand covers mine and your smile says it all. Yes, Mom, I was listening. I heard you. I always did. I took it all in and passed it on. And along the way, I looked, and I saw the roses. I felt your arm around mine, bringing the blossom close so its scent could fill us both.
I love and miss you, Mimi, but you're never far away. Here, take my hand. Let's stop for just a moment and we'll smell the roses together.
Forever and always,