“Mama.” Perhaps no other word in our langauge evokes such tender and loving feelings.
My mom turned 85 on May 2. Here she is with my dad (88). They have been married for 65 years!
Geneva Mae Reavis Saye and Harold Hulon Saye Sr.
If I had to answer the question, “Neal, what’s the greatest lesson your mother has taught you in life?” I would have NO problem at all answering. I learned the lesson so, so early: the power and authority of humor and laughter. Some of my greatest memories growing up consist of roaring with giggles and laughter at some of the silliest things. My mother is a master at seeing the lightness in situations. The Christmas when I was about six, asked for a real joke box, and FOUND IT it my parents’ bedroom closet on Christmas Eve. Mama thought it was hilarious when I started yelling in confusion, “WHY is my juke box in your closet??!!” She said, through fits of unrestrained laughs, “Santa wanted your dad and me to try it out first.” (That Christmas began my distrust of Santa.) Or the time when I asked for (and finally got) a rocking chair for my sixteenth birthday (don’t judge me), and she (like you probably) laughed and said, “WHO wants a rocking chair on their birthday?!” I still get teased about that very practical and emotionally calming gift.
Or her ongoing confusion with the words “veterinarian” and “vegetarian.”
Or the Christmas when I was about eight and had this obsession with making sure the ornaments were placed perfectly (in my opinion) on the live tree branches. I had gone to bed, but thought that maybe I should check the tree one more time for spatial accuracy of the bulbs and tinsel. A big round glass ornament on a limb just out of my reach needed attention. Reaching up, I grabbed the branch, too hard I suppose, and pulled the ENTIRE tree on top of me, electric lights and all. Screaming in holiday terror, I flailed at the evergreen monster till my mom and dad ran into the living room. I distinctly remember my dear mother hooting with laughter and saying to my dad (far too loudly), “Just look what he’s done now!”
Or her ongoing advice throughout the decades: “It’s really not that important, Neal. You’ll laugh about it soon.” And I usually did. (Except for early Christmas memories.)
What an incredible privilege and joy to have a mother who taught me when I was younger and who continues to teach me to this day that happiness is a choice. That laughter is an answer, a solution, medicine. That humor is a gift to get and to give.
My advice on this glorious Mother’s Day: Don’t wait till your mom and dad walk out of your lives forever to tell them, show them how very much they mean to you and how much you love them.
HAPPY, HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY 2012!
I dedicate this beautiful version of the song “Mama” by Il Divo to my mom and to yours. And remember to tell her now!