By Brenda Black
“I couldn't have done it without you,” he whispered in my ear as we held each other tightly in a moment forever engraved on my heart. My college graduate towered over me and I felt so small, so proud, so sad, happy, weary and wonderful all at the same time on this very special Mother's Day.
Just a short three years ago, I wept and cheered my way through his older brother's commencement. That didn't make it any easier this time around. But while I compare the emotional strain from the first to the last of my graduates, I can't help but count the cost it took to get each of them to such a destination. A thousand prayers, unending words of encouragement, the late night study tips and long-distance consoling, nor the financial support, will ever calculate the end value. Once in a lifetime experiences plus the beginning of life long friendships plus the solid, well prepared launch into adulthood equals worth it!
But back to that phrase: “I couldn't have done it without you.” Can any of us truly say we accomplished any of our greatest achievements by flying solo? I don't think so.
Parents, teachers, friends, spouses, peers, bosses and total strangers help us throughout our lives. Mom gave me life and instilled creativity, Dad taught me to drive and disciplined me. My teachers taught me how to read and write and a pony named Spunky taught me to love riding. My kids taught me patience and joy and one forced me to master the art of washing chickens while the other insisted I learn to hunt. My husband holds my hand through many a crises, loves me as I am and listens to my heart. I have editors that polish me and friends that challenge me. Yes, I am convinced, I couldn't have done much without all of these.
The month of May presents many opportunities to ponder the people in our lives who have co-piloted our destinies. Moms get thanked ceremoniously in an effort to make up for the millions of times we take them for granted. Children get applauded for their academic prowess and paraded through high school and college gymnasiums dressed in caps and gowns. But, hopefully May is not the only time we pause and give notice.
When my son spoke those words in my ear, his simple, loving, sincere sentence meant everything to me. Of course I trembled and choked back tears. I tried a half-hearted attempt at jokingly agreeing. Down deep, I wassimultaneously drowned and raised on a tidal wave of emotion. It meant the world to me!
Our words don't have to be many to say much. A special occasion is not necessary. Just once in a while and whenever you get the opportunity, tell the people in your life how much they've contributed to the person you've become. No one does anything great alone. But each one of us can do something great when we take the time to just say thanks and let others know how they've impacted our lives.