|The "Other" Woman|
The Gift of Time
After 21 years of marriage, my wife wanted me to take another woman out to dinner and a movie.
She said, “I love you, but I know this other woman also loves you and would love to spend some time with you.”
The other woman that my wife wanted me to see was my mother, who has been widowed for 19 years. The demands of work and three children had made it only possible to visit her occasionally.
That night I called to invite her to go out for dinner and a movie.
“What’s wrong, are you well?” she asked. (My mother is the type of woman who suspects a late night call, or a surprise invitation, is a sign of bad news).
“I thought it would be nice to spend some time with you,” I responded. “Just the two of us.”
She thought about it for a moment, and then said, “I would like that very much.”
That Friday after work, as I drove over to pick her up, I was nervous. When I arrived at her house, I noticed that she, too, seemed nervous about our date.
She waited patiently at the door with her coat on. I noticed she had curled her hair and was wearing the dress she had worn to celebrate her last wedding anniversary. She smiled from a face that was as radiant as an angel’s.
“I told my friends I was going out with my son and they were impressed, “she said, as she got into the car. “They can’t wait to hear about our evening.”
We went to a restaurant that was nice and cozy, but not elegant. My mother took my arm as if she were the First Lady. After we sat down, I had to read the menu to her. Her eyes could only read large print.
Halfway through choosing our entrees, I looked up to see Mom staring at me with a nostalgic smile. “I was just remembering how I used to have to read the menu to you, when you were small,” she said.
“Then it’s time that you relax and let me return the favor,” I responded.
During dinner, we had a nice conversation – nothing extraordinary, just catching up on the events of each other’s life. We talked so much that we missed the movie.
Later, as we arrived back at her house, she said, “I’ll go out with you again, but only if you let me invite you.” I agreed.
“How was your dinner date?” asked my wife when I got home.
“Very nice. It was more than I could have imagined,” I answered.
A few days later, my mother died of a massive heart attack. It happened so suddenly that I didn’t have a chance to do anything for her.
Sometime later, I received an envelope in the mail with a copy of a restaurant receipt from the same place where mother and I had dined. The attached note said,
“I paid this bill in advance. I wasn’t sure that I could be there; nevertheless, I paid for two dinners – one for you and one for your sweet wife.
You will never know just how much our night out meant to me. I love you, son.”At that moment, I understood the importance of saying, “I love you” and giving those we love the time they deserve. Nothing in life is more important than family. We have to give them the time they deserve, because often these things cannot be put off until “some other time.”
“A writer soon learns that easy to read is hard to write.” ~CJ Heck