This weekend was the annual family reunion for my mother’s side of my family. For several reasons (time, cost, work schedule, distance) we couldn’t attend. Which is too bad, because our family reunion can be pretty cool. My mom’s family is huge – she is one of twelve kids, I am one of – I seriously don’t know how many dozen cousins, I should ask… Anyway, every summer the family rents a camp on a lake on the border of Minnesota and South Dakota. Everybody hangs out and plays dominos and bocce, and the kids swim in the lake, and play tetherball and softball, and it’s mandatory to eat every three hours whether you’re hungry or not. There’s also a prize that consists of a toilet plunger, a pair of boxers and serveral other components, and the winner has to keep it for a year till the next reunion, but that’s another story.
This year, however, something different happened. The sisters of the family, which would be my mom and my four aunts, decided to extend the reunion for a couple of extra days of girl time. Today, after the reunion ended, they drove to my aunt Susan’s house in Canton, SD. Canton is only about three hours from where I live in Omaha, so Susan clued me in a few weeks ago that this was the plan, and I wasn’t about to pass up this chance to see my mom. It just so happened that Sam has tomorrow off, so today when he got done with work we jumped in the car and headed for Canton. All of my aunts knew that we were coming, but everyone kept the secret from my mom.
We arrived in Canton about 10 pm and walked into Susan’s house. My mom’s face was priceless. There was a moment of utter confusion – a look that said “That person looks so much like Kim – I wonder why there’s a person here who looks like Kim?” Then the realization hit and she started to cry and threw her arms around me. It was so wonderful, to be loved like that, and to be able to bring such joy just by existing and walking into a room! There’s nothing like the love of a mom.
For those of us that are parents, I believe that the love we feel for our children is the most powerful love we will ever feel. It’s like nothing else. I believe that the first few hours of a child’s life, when we have that time of intense love and protectiveness, that feeling of “you are mine and I will do anything for you, anything to take care of you – you are the most incredible creature on earth”; before it has been diluted with annoyance or frustration or exhaustion – I think that time is the closest we may come to understanding how the Father feels about us.
And I think if I can bring that much joy to my mom, just by being me and by loving her, then I also bring joy to my Father, by being and becoming the me that he created me to be, and by loving him. Not by keeping a bunch of rules, but by opening my heart, and loving him.
PS – Love you Mom