• GabrielMerithew

Mother and Son (Day 30)

The doctor handed Baby Son to Mother and she cradled him in her arms. He was perfect. He was everything she’d ever wanted, and she couldn’t wait to spend the rest of her life helping her Baby Son become an extraordinary person who would shape the world into something better. Tears streaming from her eyes, she leaned over so that her face was within an inch of his and whispered, “I love you.”

In the blink of an eye, Mother’s Baby Son used the sofa to pull himself up, then walked unsteadily towards her, sporting a silly little grin. Mother felt so proud and caught him when he fell forward into her arms. She hugged him tightly and whispered, “I love you.”

Mother held Baby Son’s hand as they walked through the door and into the Preschool. This was a day they’d both been dreading, but it was clear that today would mark another beginning of something incredible. Baby Son hugged Mother’s leg as tightly as he could and cried when Mother gently pulled him away. She felt like crying too, but she smiled her most comforting smile as she leaned down and whispered, “I love you.”

The time eventually came for Son to sleep in his own bed and Mother came in every hour to soothe the bad dreams away. He held her tightly and asked for another story. Mother told him about the best moments of her life, and though he rarely understood the depth of her stories, he loved them all the same. When the calm returned, it was time to try to sleep again, and Mother leaned down and whispered, “I love you.”

At Son’s High School graduation, Mother sat in the audience and tried not to cry. Son gave the Valedictorian speech and without worrying what people would think, Mother stood up and cheered, beaming at him. She caught him after the ceremony and gave him a big hug, telling him how proud she was to have him as her Son. He hugged her back and told her that she was holding up the line. Mother let go of him, but not before she stood on tiptoes and whispered in his ear, “I love you.”

The wedding took place on a lovely summer’s day at a beautiful ranch in the countryside. Mother looked in awe at her Son who was standing at the altar, looking handsome in a crisp suit. His bride walked down the aisle and Son looked at her with ecstatic joy. The couple said their vows and kissed passionately in front of everyone. Their lives were now joined as one, and Son approached Mother at his first chance and kissed her politely on the cheek, looking happier than Mother had ever seen him. She pulled him close and stood as tall as she could on her aching legs and whispered in his ear, “I love you.”

A few years had passed since the wedding and Mother had tried time and time again to reconnect with her Son, but he rarely responded. She spent sleepless nights worrying about her Son, who’d grown cold and distant towards her. She didn’t have any idea what she could’ve done to upset him. Their phone calls on holidays were brief and Mother wept afterward, but not before she whispered, “I love you.”

Late one sleepless night, many months later, Mother received the call. She rushed to the emergency room and was informed of her Son’s overdose. Her body was weaker now, but she ran as fast as she could down the hall and burst into the room. Son looked up as she entered with a stony expression on his face, and didn’t return her hug, or acknowledge her in any way when she whispered, “I love you.”

Many years passed and Mother found happiness without her Son. He was constantly in and out of hospitals and rehab centers, and Mother gladly paid for it without batting an eye. Even after the tumor in Mother’s brain was diagnosed, she continued to spend her time outside taking in the beauty of the mountains and the lake. She’d lived a full life, but it wasn’t free of regret. She wondered where she’d gone wrong, but also knew that she couldn’t dwell in the past. In her last days, Mother finally learned what it meant to love herself fully, accept her failures, and celebrate her victories. In a moment of tremendous strength, she whispered to herself, “I love you.”

Son visited Mother on the day she died. He felt like crying but smiled comfortingly. He held her hand and told her stories of his favorite memories of his life, and how incredibly sorry he was to have pushed her away. He explained how he was better now. He’d remarried and had children of his own, who now entered the room to meet their Grandmother for the first time. Mother and Son looked at one another and smiled sadly as millions of unspoken words flowed between them. And before the monitor went flat, Son leaned down and whispered in his Mother’s ear the three words he’d failed to say his whole life, “I love you.”

The End

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