Happy Birthday, Robert. A Mother’s Day Reflection.

You’re supposed to be fifty today. FIFTY! The Big 5-0! Can you imagine the type of abuse you would be receiving from all of us?

It’s been two and a half years. You’re a grandfather now. And another grandbaby is coming! And I might actually finish grad school this time!

I miss you, Bob. I have had the opportunity to meet some current members of Seekers of the Word. They recognized your name because they know the history of their group. It puts a smile on my face to see something you helped create still blessing people. That helps a little bit.

But I’ve got to be honest: it’s not enough. I miss your phone calls. I miss correcting you on all your misinformed sports opinions. I miss sharing corny jokes with you. I never got to tell you about the nosy pepper (but you probably already knew about it!). I miss hearing my kids talk about checkers games. I miss the noise (most of it pleasant) that your presence brought to all of our family reunions.

Sometimes I get mad at you. I’m sorry about that. But I still want you to be here so I get mad at you for not being healthier. I get mad that you didn’t make all the changes you needed to make. But then I remember that you and I are not so different, are we? Then I realize how selfish I am. I miss you. I want you here. I want to talk to you. It’s all about me. Please forgive me.

Today is going to be tough. I am going to eat some cheesecake at some point today. I’m going to remember good times we shared. I’m going to remember working together at McDonald’s. I’m going to remember how much I learned from you while I was in high school (most of it good) and we were the only two living with Mom and Dad. I’m going to remember, and I’m going to smile. And I’m going to cry.

And then I’m going to call Mom and wish her a Happy Mother’s Day. Because even though missing you makes me sad and leaves me a little empty, you made Mom a Mom. 50 years ago today. Mom and Dad miss you terribly. But they have shown me and everyone else what it means to be a man and woman of faith; what it means to be able to express grief faithfully and with hope.

Some of these days are different for all of us now because you are not here. But we will still celebrate. We will still remember. We will never forget.

We love you, Robert.

Happy Birthday.