YES, I still celebrate the fact that my oldest son, Bret, survived the USMC. He survived serving in Iraq and is now living here in Phoenix and working for my husband. He is my joy! He is not only handsome, but has a wonderful sense of humor (where did that come from, I suppose?) and can always make me laugh. I love him with all my heart!
But, on Mothers Day, May 12, 2003….I got up early to go check on Clay who was in the ICU at Phoenix Childrens Hospital. He was in for pneumonia and was 15 1/2 years old…..and still my BABY. They had taken him off the respirator because he seemed to be doing better! When I went into his room (when he was in ICU I didn’t spend the nights) he was facing the doorway. He was blind, but it looked as though he was looking straight at me.
I walked in, smiling because he was off the ventilator and only had on an oxygen mask. I walked to his bedside and pulled the mask away for just a moment so I could give him a kiss on those delicious little lips. When I pulled it away, he said, “mama.”
Clay only had a vocabulary of two words. One was, “mama” and the other was “bubba”. I don’t know why he could only say these words and no other….but God knows. He knew that those two words would give Bret and I strength for those 15 years. God is good.
I leaned down, wondering how he knew it was me that pulled the mask off, and gave him a kiss. He looked so beautiful and had the most beautiful blue eyes and long lashes. I was so very happy to see and hear him on this Mothers Day. He seemed to be turning the corner with his pneumonia.
I did not know that it would be my last few hours with my baby. Clay died the following morning.
God is still good. He took Clay because it was time. No more seizures. No more pneumonia. No more pain. But for me….no more baby. I won’t lie….it
was is hard … but God is good.
So Mothers Day is a mixed bag of emotions for me. On the one hand, God gave me a beautiful child for 15 years and an incredible older son that loved his brother more than you can imagine. And on the other hand…my arms are empty and a piece of my heart went away. But God is good.
My sweet mother-in-law, Mary Alice Nieto, also passed away 2 years ago, leaving behind a 40 year old Down Syndrome daughter, who lives with her dad….who is 75. Can you imagine the work left for him? She is unable to live on her own and yet, is such a delight to the entire family. I miss Mary Alice, not only because she was precious to me, but also because she welcomed me and my boys with open arms, 20 years ago. The first time she saw Clay, she told me that he was an angel. I said, “I know.”
MY MOTHER, on the other hand, is still alive! My mother has been such an incredible inspiration to me and has lived out faith, hope and love for me. She has grace and she has class. She loved my little Clay so very much and was not only with me when he was born, but was also with me on the day that he died. God did that. God knew that I would need my mama. God is good.
She always made sure that we went to church. She always made sure that we wore the most current styles, had the best manners and always made sure we wore “church” clothes when we went to the doctor. I still laugh about that today when I go to the doctors office. No, I don’t wear “church” clothes, but I still dress up!!
I have learned to mimic her grace and dignity whenever major obstacles come our way. I hope that this day gives her the respect and dignity that she deserves because she was my role model! She taught me all I know! (and all I don’t know….like math). And I celebrate HER. MY MAMA…
So, Mothers Day is different for me. I think of the things I have and I think of the things I have lost.
And, by the grace of God, I can still smile.