May’s spotlight is traditionally focused on the mothers, but I’m going to make a slight exception this go-round. Not to worry – my Mom will be feted abundantly on the 8th. You don’t overlook the greatness of someone who raised two children over the course of six and a half decades, especially when said raising involved a sometimes challenging son.
But my salute would be incomplete if it stopped a week and a day into the month. To me, what occurred three weeks later in 1955 merits some serious consideration, as well.
That’s when Billy Ronald Youngblood took Daisy Anne Lester’s left hand and put a ring on it, all the while promising to love her to the end.
Near the conclusion of this May, God willing, he will take her left hand again and make that promise again – only this vow will be tinged with a touch of melancholy.
You see: Mom remembers the first ceremony as if it happened yesterday. She just can’t remember much of what happened yesterday – any yesterday – any more.
And that’s difficult to accept.
It’s difficult for her. It’s difficult for dad. It’s difficult for the two offspring and for their offspring. Aging is difficult for pretty much everyone.
You can quote me on that.
Though I’m, without question, closer to the end than the beginning, I’ve generally chosen not to lament the sight of the stranger staring at me each morning when I look in the mirror. After nearly dying from a toothache, surviving cancer and sacrificing a knee to the notion that I can still take an extra base on that hit to right field, I’ve accepted that this old, gray human just ain’t what he used to be.
But, while my procession into the Golden Years is not wrought with angst, what Mom and Dad are going through these days is a tougher pill to swallow. This was the Mom who shook her groove thing at the junior high dance and the Dad who bashed a single to left at Fort Worth’s LaGrave Field in the annual Star-Telegram vs. Morning News baseball game.
Sadly, there’s not much shaking and bashing any more.
However (and this is a big “However”) …
Still aplenty is the love rooted in the vow that took place on May 29 some 67 years ago. I see it when Mom verbally expresses it at the breakfast table and awaits Dad’s reciprocation, which, invariably involves him bending over to kiss her and to utter the words, “I love you, too, dear.”
Yeah, May 29th is pretty important to me.