Thursday, November 11, 2004

After 21 years of marriage, I discovered a new way of keeping
alive the spark of love. A little while ago I had started to go
out with another woman. It was really my wife's idea.

"I know that you love her," she said one day, taking me by

"But I love YOU," I protested.

"I know, but you also love her."

The other woman that my wife wanted me to visit was my mother,
who has been a widow for 19 years, but the demands of my work
and my three children had made it possible to visit her only
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 that a late night call or a surprise
invitation is a sign of bad news.

"I thought that it would be pleasant to pass some time with
you," I responded. " Just the two of us."

She thought about it for a moment then said "I would like that
very much."

That Friday after work, as I drove over to pick her up I was a
bit nervous. When I arrived at her house, I noticed that she,
too, seemed to be nervous about our date. She waited in the door
with her coat on. She had curled her hair and was wearing the
dress that she had worn to celebrate her last wedding
anniversary. She smiled from a face that was as radiant as an

"I told my friends that I was going to go out with my son, and
they were impressed," she said, as she got into the car. "They
can't wait to hear about our meeting".

We went to a restaurant that, although not elegant, was very
nice and cozy. my mother took my arm as if she were the First

After we sat down, I had to read the menu to her. Her eyes could
only read large print. Half way through the entree, I lifted my
eyes and saw Mom sitting there staring at me.

A nostalgic smile was on her lips. "It was I who used to have to
read the menu when you were small," she said.

Then it's time for you to relax and let me return the favor," I

During the dinner we had an agreeable conversation, nothing
extraordinary but catching up on recent events of each others
lives. We talked so much that we missed the movie.

As we arrived at her house later, 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. Much more so 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.

Some time later I received an envelope with a copy of a
restaurant receipt from the same place mother and I had dined.
An attached note said: "I paid this bill in advance. I was
almost sure that I couldn't be there but, nevertheless, I paid
for two plates - one for you and the other for your wife. You
will never know what that night meant to me. I love you."

At that moment I understood the importance of saying, in time:
"I LOVE YOU" and giving our loved ones the time that they
deserve. Nothing in life is more important than God and your
family and friends. Give them the time they deserve, because
these things cannot be put off 'til "some other time". Someone
once said "I've learned that, regardless of your relationship
with your parents, you'll miss them when they're gone from your
life. I think this is true with your in-laws, grandchildren,
sisters, brothers and your friends. Anyone that means something
to you - you should spend time with them and let them know how
much they mean to you as often as you can.


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