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Entry date: 5-8-2022 - Happy Mom's Day - Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

Today is Mother’s Day and I must give a nod to the moms, of course. A few weeks ago, I wrote about how my grandmother, Granny, and her sisters were dubbed “MawMacs” because of their maiden last name, McNair, by my mom and aunt. I can’t think about this day without thinking of how their Mississippi lineage has influenced my life and the life of my mom.

I’ve been lucky to have been graced with many moms in my life. My own mother pops into these blogs from time to time and will again, quite a lot, before the year is over. As I reflect on her today, I just wish that she is having a good day and feeling good about her efforts in being a mom and grandmother. All of us who are parents feel our failures more deeply than anyone else, I think, and I don’t want to linger today on any resentments or bad feelings.

Those that came before my mom helped shape who she is, and I think of my granny and my great-grandmothers, Ruth and Hazel. I was fortunate enough to know both and feel loved by both. I was closer to Hazel because she lived in Sun City, and I saw her relatively often until she died when I was in seventh grade. We had many talks, and I can almost hear her voice, still, in my memory.

My mom was particularly close to her, too, and loved going out to Sun City to see “Mamaw” as we called her. She was a lovely, handsome woman, and I especially loved how much she loved and cared for her son (and my grandfather), Vincent, as she called him. I don’t think I’ve mentioned that “Thomas” is a family name on that side of things and all the fellow’s first name is Thomas, but they all go by their middle name within the family.

Ruth, on the other hand, lived in Winfield, Kansas, as I was growing up and I last saw her about fifteen years ago when she was 101. She was amazing, too, and I wish I would have been able to know her better. I used to feel so jealous of my second and third cousins in Kansas who got to spend a lot of time with her. I think I mentioned, though, that I always knew and felt her love, even from a distance. She had that knack for putting a little twinkle in her eye.

My mom, whether it was a blessing or sometimes a curse, grew up with strong-willed women as role models. It gave her an innate toughness, too, that I think has served her well in life. She may have other opinions on that, but that’s her story to tell. Granny is not an easy woman to be around, sometimes, and that is an understatement, but for me, she’s always been a steady rock of love, support, and has been free with her opinions, too.

I’m going to call her today and wish her a happy Mother’s Day, of course. She’s a little Covid-shy, which I can understand at her age, so I won’t just drop in unless she invites me. Not that it’s enough, by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ve gotten so spend a fair amount of Mother’s Days with her over the years and that makes me smile. If she’s more comfortable with the world staying outside her door, then who am I to question it?

My grandmother, Val, was my dad’s mom. I’ve mentioned her a few times here, too, and will again. She was a great gramma, both literally and figuratively. With Skylar part of the family for the last eight years, she is also a great-great gramma, I guess, too. She would have loved Sky. She loved all the grandkids and was very happy that Rhondi and I have such a big family. All of us loved her dearly, too.

I have three aunts on my dad’s side that deserve mention, too. I love (and loved) them all. My aunt Barbara passed away a little bit ago, but she was always warm and loving to me. My two Aunt Kathy’s are also pretty darn amazing women, too. I feel very lucky to have had them in my life when I was young dude and trying to figure out how to be a good guy.

My Aunt Julie has been a wonderful mother in my life as well. As a teenager, she was always there for me and could put things in perspective for me in a way that no one else could in those days. I value her counsel, support, and love greatly. For a few years, when Ben and I lived next door to each other, it was always nice to know she was next door, too, if I needed her. She continues to be an important person to me even if I don’t get to see her as much as I would like. I think of her today and hope she is enjoying herself.

My stepmom, Lori, has become quite the mom in my life, too. We didn’t get off to a great start, but I love that she has grown into being one of my moms. It has been such a great part of my life in the last couple of decades to go from wondering if she cared at all to knowing that I can talk to her about anything. We have grown to a place where each of us can just be ourselves and comfortable with each other. It is a wonderful gift and I love her for it. I hope my dad and brother are spoiling her a bit today, and gramma Joan, too. I will be thinking of them and smiling.

I would remiss if I didn't mention my mother-in-law, Patti, as well. She's been making a wonderful effort to be more of a part of our lives recently and it's been great. I know her mom, Dorothy (or GG) would be proud and happy.

My daughter, Elise, also deserves mention. She continues to build a beaut relationship with Sky and watching them together brings me great joy. Happy Mother’s Day to you, kid.

As a youngster, I had a few friends whose moms I just adored, too. There was Carol, who was the mother of Craig, who was my best friend in first grade. I also thought Helena, who was Alex’s mom, and was my bud in second grade, was great. Her accent always slayed me. I think she was from Brazil. I loved my fourth-grade friend, Greg’s mom, too. She was always so welcoming to me.

In middle school, I was close with my friend Matt’s mom, Kathy. We’re still Facebook friends, actually, and we correspond a bit from time to time. She was always very sweet and caring to me. Matt has a lot of her in him and I know that was a big reason we were close friends for a long time.

In high school, I knew some interesting moms, too. Vie Lee and Mrs L always took good care of me in the Deer Valley days and everybody loved Danny’s mom because she let us drink and smoke out in the house as long as we weren’t going anywhere. Once I got to Camelback, though, I got really lucky.

Karen was just amazing. She was Michael and Tom’s mom and I loved her, and I knew she loved me. I would have done just about anything for her if she would have asked. I feel very lucky to have spent a great deal of time with her and miss her. I think of her today with fondness, just as I think of Stephanie, too, who was Brian’s mom and left us way too early. Both were there for me on many occasions.

There is also the Church lady. Mark’s mom, Sue, put up with a lot of nonsense from me, from all of us, and could still smile and offer me something to eat or drink when I was at their home. There were so many rules at her house, but I did my best to obey. One time, though, when Mark and I were a bit high (well, a lot high), I got a little ahead of myself and dropped an F bomb in front of her and just about died. I thought Mark was going to piss himself. We still laugh about that and I’m laughing right now as I send a Mother’s Day wish to Sue.

Jan, KJ’s mom, was amazing, too. She and I had some great talks over the years and once I was an adult, she treated me like part of the family and as a friend. They threw the best parties at their house and Jan would even invite me sometimes when KJ was not there. That’s a good mom.

Many of our friends are amazing moms, too. Dolly and Renee and Miryam and Alice…Angela and Amy…Emily…Tracey…Amber… holy cow… I could go a thousand words just talking about all the great moms I know. Happy Mother’s Day to you all, if you are reading this. Many of you are stepmoms, too, or have taken in kids you weren’t responsible for, and I rejoice in being around you all.

I know I’m forgetting several moms and I’m sorry for that, but I could go on and on. I haven’t even mentioned the very best mom I know and that’s my wife, Rhondi. I’m always just in awe of her and her capacity to love our kids. She’s taught me so much about being a parent and I can’t thank her enough for how she has been there to raise our kids with me. They all just love her, too. I wish you the best Mother’s Day, babe, of all. You take in all the strays and take care of them and love’em like your own. You are the best.

See you all tomorrow.

Because I can't show pictures of them are some pretty flowers, just like the moms in my life.

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