I am writing this post several days after the passing of David’s mother, Carole. Although David’s brothers are saddened because of their mother’s death (even though, in most respects, it was an expected consequence of her dementia), David has suffered immensely. David is the quintessential “Mama’s boy.” And I say this in every good way. David is, like his dear mother, kind, gentle, compassionate, with a sweet demeanor that is rare among almost everyone I have ever known. David and his mother shared a love and respect of people from all walks of life. One of Carole’s closest friends at the church where she was the pastor’s secretary for 30 years was the janitor, not her co-workers in the office. As for David, I knew he was a wonderful person, and unlike all of the other men I had dated, someone who is special, in many ways, soon after we began dating in 1986. As readers of this blog know, David and I love music, particularly live music in the form of concerts. One of our earliest dates was attending a Stevie Wonder concert in Jacksonville, at the Coliseum. David called to ask me if I wanted to go and, of course, I quickly said “Yes!” A few hours later, he called me and said, “My mother really likes Stevie Wonder. Would it be alright with you if she goes to the concert with us?”. I replied, “Your mom is way cooler than my mom! And, of course, she is welcome to join us!” Then, David called me a third time, this time, to ask if his 12 year old brother could go to the show with us too. Needless to say, I said “Yes!” while thinking to myself that this is a really, really nice man I’m dating and his family must also be really nice. I couldn’t imagine anyone else I had ever dated asking to bring first, their mother then second, their little brother, to a rock concert and I was thrilled to have finally met a truly nice man. Carole was one of a kind. More than my mother-in-law for 33 years, she was one of my closest friends. When someone describes a man as a “mama’s boy,” since meeting David, I always say “Well, he must be a nice person.” Carole, I hope you are enjoying heavenly concerts!
Being a “mama’s boy” sometimes has a derogatory connotation. I have known some for whom that was appropriate. But, I guess my evolution that way came from two realities of childhood. First, my Dad traveled for his job. A lot! I can only imagine that he drove millions of miles across Florida, Georgia and beyond in his career with the Interstate Commerce Commission. For most of that time, he covered territory from Atlanta to Orlando from our Jacksonville home. He was gone 3 nights a week on average, often a week at a time. That meant that my brother Dale and I spent much time in a “single parent home;” later, our brother Stephen added to the mix, but the travel continued for Dad throughout his two long lasting career jobs, for over 50 years. The other thing is that, because I have asthma, there were times when I was too sick for school, or worse, even to play or go fishing and I’d be kept home with Mom. But, as Melissa points out, mom was fun! She liked to have fun! She liked others to have fun! So, she found ways to make that happen. I think the Stevie Wonder concert is the only loud rock and roll concert we ever attended together, but she enjoyed it as much, I think, as Melissa, Stephen, and I did. Dale and I, and again later, Stephen, did boy things. Playing football, baseball, roaming the nearby woods, fishing and more. But, mom was usually the one at home when we got there. That connection taught me, and all 3 of us, to be respectful of her, respectful of women and to model her behavior towards others. Others of all types. Her kind spirit made her open to accepting all types of people. She was “color blind” and took in all kinds of strays – and I’m talking about the 2 legged kind, not the 4 legged kind. I’m proud to have learned these positive traits from her and if that means I’m a Mama’s boy, so be it.