This week my youngest brother and his son arrived from Florida. They were here primarily to visit my 86 year old mother, who recently declared “I’m not getting any younger” and demanded that my brother and, separately, my sister, come visit and spend time alone with her. Steven picked up Jono and his son Charlie from the airport and brought them to our house, and my mother arrived about an hour later via her helper. As she carefully descended the few stairs inside the front gate, she kept looking up to see her son’s face as he waited for her. Her eyes were shining. She is very little, even shorter with age, and my brother is tall. He carefully bent over to hug and kiss her, his son standing just behind him, and I could feel her overwhelming joy in the moment of reunion, mother and son.
Last year, at the end of June, my son returned after spending 10 months in Israel (“The Summer of Impending Loss,” “He’s Gone”). The day of his return, my husband, our daughter, and I went to the airport and waited in the baggage area. I kept looking for him… and then I spotted him. The first to reach him, I was the first to encircle him with my arms and be held by his stronger ones. During that long hug, I surprised myself crying for joy, for the breathtaking feeling of a mother reunited with her son.
Just days ago, as I watched my mother reunite with her son, I remembered. And then I also remembered all the years when I was the one visiting my mother, happy to see her, but also happy when I left to return to my own life, not quite understanding her towering joy when I arrived, or her plummeting sadness after I was gone. Now, in one moment of awareness, I became joined to my mother.
Our son is coming home from college on the east coast in just one week. I can hardly wait. He has decided to transfer to college here and live with us at least for the next year. I now realize what an incredible gift of time we are about to receive. I think about our daughter, a junior in high school, and wonder what it will feel like when she, too, leaves to go to college, and how I will miss her even as I encourage her to start out on her own journey. Before I know it, they will both be visitors when they come home.
On this day of honor to mothers everywhere, let us celebrate our unity as mothers, or as children of mothers, or as grandchildren of mothers. Let us remember that each mother’s child is as precious, unique, and beloved as our own children. May all children and mothers experience the joy of happy reunions.