“She’s my mom. She brought me into this world. It’s time to pay back.”

I saw true, true love last week.

As I walked into the facility, a man about 40 was standing next to his mother who was in a wheelchair. He was smoothing her hair tenderly. Her gray curly hair. Smoothing it down so that she looked pretty but I sensed it was more than that. It was a loving way of touching…..connecting.

He was a guy who looked like he had “street smarts” and who may have given his mother more than a few of those gray hairs.

I started to do my program. They came into the room. He was very attentive to her and repeated things that I was saying, to try to get her engaged. If I asked a question of the group, he leaned into her and asked her the question. He smiled and laughed and looked lovingly toward her.

It wasn’t phony. It was real. And he wasn’t doing it to impress anybody. He didn’t know that I was watching him throughout the program. I felt that there was a lesson here for me.

He looked like the kind of guy that I may have “judged” if I had seen him on the street. I would have assumed character traits that would have been all wrong.

After the program was over, I walked over to him and said, “Wow, your mom sure raised a son to be proud of.”

Well, it wasn’t always that way. I put her through the wringer with the trouble I got into with drugs and alcohol. She had to have tough love. She wouldn’t let me come back into her life until I got into recovery. She encouraged me to get help. I knew she loved me. She stayed connected with me but she would not tolerate the stuff I was doing. It took a long time. She’s my mom. She brought me into this world and now is my time to pay her back.”

I don’t really think his mom was aware of the program. She didn’t answer any questions or really even look up very much. We were in the Dementia Unit. There is one thing that I bet she was aware of – that her 40 something son – the one who had her praying on her knees for many years, was sitting next to her, his arm around her, and smoothing her gray hair and smiling at her…….now that’s a son to be proud of and a mom worthy of a mother’s crown.

To the man: Thanks for the lesson of love that I witnessed today.

I asked if he wanted a few angel pins that I created for his family or maybe some of the friends at church. My mom would like to give them to her grandchildren. Thank you so much.

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