If you haven't already, please go find Mama and give her a big birthday kiss from me. She would have been 94 today. Tell her how much I love her.
I had to make a Walmart run today. (By the way, they're rearranging the place again. It's a mess. It's hard to find anything. I'll have to learn the whole store over again. Bummer.)Anyway, I went to Walmart. I turned on the radio on the way, and heard Anne Murray's lovely contralto singing a song I don't believe I've thought about since it was on the charts. It was good to hear it, but one line jumped out at me:
You gave me strength to stand alone again, to face the world out on my own again.
And you did. In all the years we were married, you prepared me to be without you. I doubt that it was intentional on your part, and it was certainly unrecognized on mine. But all your encouragement to grow, to change, to learn new things, to be independent, to be who I really am no matter what anybody else thought about it - all of that was groundwork for the life I live now without you.
And Mama was the other part of that. After watching her mother be widowed young, she made sure that I could support and take care of myself and a family if I needed to. She taught me how to run a home, take care of a house and car, and manage finances and legal issues. She taught me to stand on my own two feet, to be strong and independent, to do things for myself, to be an independent, capable adult.
What wasn't deliberate on your part certainly was on hers. Sometimes I can feel her smiling as she watches me be on my own for the first time in my life. I know that you smile, too. And I know that you're saying that you didn't do anything remarkable, you just loved me. But that's the point. The way that you love is special. You love without trying to own or control. You love me by wanting me to be myself. I was loved by other men before you came along, but rarely like that.
So thank you both so much. Go get a cup of tea together and celebrate. And know that I love you both so very much.