My mom is a terrific mom. A mom to buy a WORLD'S BEST MOM mug for. A mom to push around Disneyland in a wheelchair once a month. A mom to spoil with the best present ever.
If you can find it.
So last year we were chatting about school and the importance of the rituals and celebrations when she mentioned that she had never been able to buy a yearbook her senior year. She had graduated in January but they sold the yearbooks in the second semester so she lost out. It was one of those regrets you never quite get over.
So I went home and jumped into this ginormous marketplace we call the internet and - sure enough - you can now buy reprints of old high school yearbooks. They round up a copy from somewhere (her year's once belonged to "John") and print as needed. It was a little pricey, but the look on her face was priceless.
As her congestive heart failure has progressed, it has become harder and harder for her to get out in society. No more bridge twice a week, and she's stopped going to the meetings of the quilt club she has been a member of for close to forty years.
So, this past weekend I realized that all I had planned was to dig out my studio. I have a very comfortable recliner in there, out of the way of the action. I asked Mom if she would like to come and hang out while I cleaned. I picked her up and we enjoyed our usual Friday Red's dinner, then I brought her home for the weekend. Toward the end of the visit she mentioned that she keeps that yearbook near her chair and has looked through it many, many times.
She was particularly nostalgic about a boy named Lynn that she'd had a crush on. They never dated, she said, but he was always kind to her and even gave her a ride on his bike to a neighborhood party one evening. She spoke of how she wished she could find him so she could drop him a little note telling him that even now - over sixty years later - she thinks of him with fondness and gratefulness for his kindnesses to her.
I thought it a fine idea and offered to search online.
I broke her heart.
I found him.
Lynn had had a good life. Long, apparently happy marriage. Four children. Over a dozen grandchildren and a handful of great-grandchildren. Active in his community and church. Before he died of leukemia at the age of seventy-seven.
It's tempting to beat myself up over this. I sometimes think the fantasy of what might be is probably better than the reality of what is. But once she got over the hit of it, it was just reinforcement of what would be cliché if it weren't so true.
We mustn't wait to tell people they matter to us.