Are you surprised?
I think about this — and you — on Mother's Day. I wonder how many grown men (maybe even nearly elderly men) think about their mothers? I guess it happens. We are all children, after all.
It turned out to be a successful career, and I think that success helped you to validate the job you did in parenting me. I always sensed your pride in me. That's something a child yearns to feel from his parents. It means I'm still trying to follow the values you set for me, still trying to make you proud of me. It's something sons do, I think. Or should.
I never saw this coming when Kim and I were dating, but it turns out that she's a pretty good cook. You knew that, of course, and you shared many of your recipes with her. To this day, I enjoy the bacon dressing on my German potato salad, or those labor-intensive Moravian sugar cakes during the Christmas holidays. Should I admit that when Kim makes something from your recipe book, I usually blurt out, "That's as good as Mom used to make!"
I can't believe it's been almost 24 years since you died. You'd be 87 years old now, a longevity that seems to have run through the Kessler family — except for you. You fought your cancer with a sublime, quiet courage, I thought, perhaps passing along by example another life lesson in dealing with adversity and events beyond your control.
You gave me life and the tools to nurture that life, so it seems inadequate to simply say "Thank you."
And, yet, it's also the highest, sincerest compliment I can offer.
Happy Mother's Day.