Happy Mother's Day!
While I like to think we honor our mothers with some frequency, today is a special one dedicated to just that. It’s also an opportunity to reflect on some of the things that mark the passage of time when the children are young. There are a few stories that immediately come to mind of my own sons and how they challenged my darling wife over the years. Here's a favorite.
One summer, when Travis was around nine and Cameron was about six years old, she was having a difficult time getting them to put their dirty clothes in the hamper. Tired of scavenging in their room for items to go into the laundry, she laid down the law. If it’s not in the hamper, it’s not getting washed. For some reason, shorts and T shirts were taken care of, but sweat socks continued to be dumped on the floor or kicked under beds. So she stopped searching for them and they didn’t get washed.
This system worked fine until one day when she noticed that both boys were wearing her sweat socks! She couldn’t help but laugh at their creativity.
Jamie Richmond is one of my favorite characters. A stubborn, independent woman, she is also extremely loyal. Her relationship with her mother, Vera, has always been a little difficult. In addition to numerous marriages and divorces, Vera prefers that Jamie call her by her given name. Here’s an excerpt from “Fleeing Beauty”. In this scene, Malone brings Jamie and Vera back to a hotel room after a harrowing night that ended in violence.
“I’m going to run a very hot bath and disappear into the mist,” Vera said.
As she ducked into the bathroom, I scooped up the ice bucket next to the little refrigerator and handed it to Malone. He nodded and walked down the hall. I could hear the roar of water in the bath, filling the tub. When he returned I dropped three big ice cubes into a cut crystal glass and grabbed two small bottles of scotch from the mini-bar. Knocking lightly, I heard a muffled response and entered the bathroom.
The lights were on a dimmer switch and Vera had dialed it down low. She was in the tub, submerged under a cloud of fragrant bubbles. Only her face was visible. A small smile touched her lips when she saw what I was carrying.
“You’re a good daughter, Jamie.”
I poured one of the bottles over the ice and handed her the glass. She took a healthy sip and settled back.
“Are you going to be okay, Vera?”
“I’ll be fine, dear. It may take a few days, but I’ll be fine.”
I sat on the edge of the tub and tried to relax. Wet fingers reached up and clutched my wrist. I turned and looked at my mother in the dim light.
“My greatest fear tonight was losing you,” she whispered.
“I’m still here.”
“Yes, you are. I’ve not always made the smartest decisions in my life, Jamie. But I’m certainly proud about choosing Bert.”
“He is a very good man, Mom.”
There was silence for a moment while she sipped her drink.
“I can’t remember the last time you called me that.”
“Sorry. I guess after everything that happened tonight, it just seemed natural.”
She gave my wrist another squeeze. “I don’t mind, Jamie. As long as it’s only in private, darling. Only in private.”
Lots of different music this week, but this classic by Paul Simon seems the most appropriate tune for the day.