After my meltdown at the Hallmark store, I decided to invite N to lunch for Mother's Day. We met on Saturday, at a Cheesecake Factory on the Plaza. We sat outside, with one of KC's gazillion fountains behind us and bright sunshine all around. It was cool enough to be thankful for the big cloth napkin on your lap but warm enough for us. Both of us like to eat outside, even when we're pushing the season.
Out of the 100s of possibilities, we both ordered small veggie pizzas and Cesear salads and glasses of pinot grigio.
We talked about Katie. We talked about our respective work lives. We talked about how our families are doing. N told me some stories about Paul's family that I could have listened to all day. Completely fascinating. We laughed. (A lot.) We cried. (A little.)
N brought Kleenex to share. We used them.
I brought pink Gerbera daisies and a card for N. Inside the card I put a wallet-sized version of every one of Katie's school pictures.
Deciding to include the pictures was not easy. The idea popped into my head and wouldn't leave, but I couldn't decide whether it would be wonderful to see her grow (kind of like a flip book) or a painful reminder of the missing years.
My dear friend Barb was aghast--not for N's sake, but for mine. "I don't know N and I don't care about her part of this. I love you. I care about you. You can't make it right for her. You don't have to try, Jerri. Don't give yourself away."
Not giving myself away is kind of a theme in my life, so I took Barb's words seriously. But still, moments before I walked out the door, I slid the pictures into the envelope and sealed it. I did for N. I did it for Katie. Mostly, I did it for myself.
The look on N's face as she thumbed through them seemed to be far more pleasure than pain, which is good. For me, it is good, too. Up close, it's easy to see that N and I are more alike than we are different.
In our similarities and in our differences, we are bound by universal truth: When you share, you end up with more. Always.
Love abides. And it kicks fear's ask.