Sending all my love and thanks this Mother’s Day to the four moms who have been such an important part of my life, and to all the remarkable mothers the world over who have sacrificed so much for their families.
For our Mother’s Day (although I have no photographic evidence because we had to leave rather quickly after we ate), we followed a tradition that began several Mother’s Days ago: We picked up lunch at Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken on Magnolia Avenue in Fort Worth and had a picnic. We’ve been enjoying our spread at the FW Botanic Gardens the past few years (we skipped last year), but since the city started charging entrance fees a couple of years ago (which we think is ludicrous), we decided we’d have today’s picnic at Trinity Park on the other side of University Drive. (BTW, if you live in the FW area and you’ve never tried Gus’s, you’re missing out!)
My quartet of mothers starts with my strong, unflappable, wonderful wife Kay. Mother to our teenagers Will and Alex, she is the glue that keeps our family from falling apart. I’m always certain that I don’t know where I’d be without her — and whether they know it or not, our kids would be lost without their mom, too. She’s our rock, our savior, our amazing chef and the person who can seemingly do everything, anytime. By the way, the attached photo is about 11 or 12 years old, but hey, I’ve never posted it — and we just don’t take many family photos. (But yeah, the kids have changed just a bit. )
My mom group also features sweet, beautiful Betty, the angel in heaven who gave birth to me 60 years ago and selflessly chose adoption, not knowing if, soon to turn 40, she could adequately provide for a fourth child as a single mother. In the 16 years since finding my three older full siblings, I’ve learned so much about the compassionate, loving, devoted-to-her-family woman she was. I’ll never stop wanting to vacuum up every little memory scrap I can about Betty from my sibs and others who knew her, because it’s important for me to know her, since I never got the chance to meet her in this life. In the attached photo, Betty was in her early 20s in the early 1940s, before she had any of my siblings (born in 1944, 1947 and 1954).
My other mother is Olga, the beautiful yet troubled, enigmatic Panamanian who adopted and raised me with her American husband Clark, my dear dad. She died 17 years ago after living the last several decades in a tormented state that I know could have been so much happier — making life much less difficult for her family — if only she’d gotten help during my childhood. I’ve forgiven her for what she put us through and accept that it wasn’t all her fault. I grew up not liking her, but I loved her because she was my mother. And I thank God knowing she’s at peace. The photo of Mom in all her radiant beauty is from her wedding day on Aug. 1, 1953, when she married Dad at a Lutheran church in the Canal Zone in Panama.
And there’s also Kay’s mother, Caryl Collier, who became a widow on Christmas Day 2019 and will be 87 in November. She’s endured the challenges of the pandemic with grace and continues to thrive at the Edgemere senior community in Dallas. She has always been kind and loving to me and our kids, and I’ve been lucky to have her and her late husband, Shelley, as in-laws. I’ve always called them Mom and Dad — and Grandmother and Granddad for the kids — because that’s what I feel most comfortable doing. We were able to visit her in her apartment last week for the first time since Shelley’s funeral in January 2020, and it felt so good. The photo you see is Caryl and Shelley on Dec. 26, 2004, with our second baby Lindsay (now Alex), on the day of her baptism at St. Barnabas UMC in Arlington.
We hope you’ve all had a special Mother’s Day, and wish love to all of you moms and to your moms and grandmothers, both living and angels, and to your daughters who have made you grandmothers.