When I called my mother yesterday and asked her how Mother's Day was treating her, she replied, "I'm having a wonderful day. I have all my children here with me, except one."
This is hardly a first for my mother. It is actually an improvement over all the years we drove hundreds of miles to be home for Christmas, only to hear, "It's just a shame Eldest Brother couldn't be here." A double-edged guilt sword that would make any mother proud, it admonished Eldest Brother for his absence, while letting the rest of us know that our presence wasn't quite enough to make this one count.
One of the blessings of growing older is that these too revealing pronouncements amuse us now. They are almost a family tradition. This sort of thing frustrated me greatly when I was younger. The worst years were those when I was old enough to see clearly what was being done to me, but powerless to stop it, despite the fact that it had been years since I had needed to borrow money from my parents.
Now I feel the years counting down, and I know that too soon I will have only memories. On the occasions that my siblings and I gather we will reminisce about our years as decorations in my mother's holiday tableaux. And we will miss her.
Be nice to your mama whenever you can manage it. She gave you everything you will ever have. If you don't believe me, just ask her.