When my son tells us that he and his long-time girlfriend are coming to Oregon over Mother’s Day weekend, my husband and I wonder what prompted the visit. We are thrilled, that’s for certain, but curious. And he doesn’t name the holiday— as in, “We’ll be there for Mother’s Day.” He just says, “We miss you guys and have decided to come for a quick visit.” Parents of a boy whose communication is spotty but brims with love when it happens, we’ll take it.
He graduated from college, came home for one day, and promptly moved to New Orleans for a job. That was almost nine years ago.
My husband gladly drives into Portland to pick them up as Wednesday becomes Thursday. I wait at home on the Oregon Coast, give quick greeting when they arrive at 3 am and say, “See you in the morning.” On his way upstairs, Sam says, “Mom, are you up for good?” I am the early riser of the family—without an alarm. I love the way a day begins. But, no, I want to share a long day, so I’ll snag a couple more hours of sleep.
Thursday and Friday pass in a blur, sunny and warm beach-walking, rare—a benediction of weather. My journal says, “Today (Saturday) begins more typically OR—a foggy, gray start, no stars dotting the pre-dawn sky. Mist shrouds the head. I love these mornings for their familiarity. This is home to me.”
Early evening in a cocoon of gray, the kids go to the beach for a walk. They take the dog and are gone awhile. I watch them emerge from path and enter the yard, our crazy rescue Libby out in front, soggy and sandy, and step outside with towels at the ready. I am busily rubbing and calming this wild-and-crazy canine, too focused to notice until later how quiet the kids are. When I finally lift my head, I see that Alex holds her hand, her left, flat against the center of her chest, looks at me with limpid, luminous eyes, and waits.
My mother’s engagement ring sparkles there, a large emerald surrounded by diamonds. It has been months since I offered it to Sam, months since he said he was planning to ask her to marry him, and I had not forgotten exactly, but had let expectation go.
We hug, she tears, Sam just stands there…beaming, really.
They will marry next fall, and I will get the daughter I already love but didn’t raise. Indeed.
Happy Mother’s Day!