I was lonely. I had a newborn and a 2-year old, and my family had just moved to a small ranch house in Lafayette, a suburb of San Francisco. Luckily, we were just twenty minutes away from my parent’s house, which was great, because my parents loved spending time with their grandsons, and I cherished their company.
I visited mom two or three mornings a week while Dad worked, and we’d watch the boys roll around on the grass while we laughed and chatted, sharing lunch before I drove home, tired and happy.
“You’ll meet some nice friends,” Mom reassured me. “You always do.”
Soon after, I met a woman in the pediatrician’s office. Did I know about the group of new moms that met at the park two mornings a week, she asked?
Just as I was leaving for park that first day, Mom called.
“Are you busy?” she asked, and I told her about the invitation.
“Wonderful!” she said. “I was in the mood for a visit, but we can do it another day!”
I told I’d skip it, and she said no way, but there was something in my mother’s voice that got to me. It occurred to me that young motherhood is just one of many lonely stages in life.
Just as I veered toward the park and my new friends, my two-year old, Matthew pointed the other way.
“Grandma’s house” he said with purpose, and I wove back to the road, the road that led to Mom’s. I knew in my gut that his was the right choice. After all, Mom had always been there when we needed her. She was still young, but she wouldn’t be around forever. There’ll come a day when she’s gone, I told myself, when I’d give anything to spend a morning like this with her.
When we arrived, I found Mom sitting in a quiet corner reading a book. The look on her face when our eyes met was one I will never forget, full of love, gratitude, but not surprise. She knew that we would come.
Matthew and Andy are now 27 and 25, and my third son, John is 21. Their Grandma died 10 years ago, just 71 years old, and we all miss her terribly. But from those early years to the very end, we “surprised” her with many visits. And we’ll never regret them.
In case you wondered, there were friends, too, many good friends, a few that never got to meet my mom.