I have been in bed all day.
This is what normally happens when I’m not feeling well. I will gripe and moan all day if my muscles and bones ache but I can usually get by. But when I have a cold or the flu, when my insides are feeling all twisted, than life becomes a blur of medications, doleful hours under the covers with the slow and steady whir of the heater, the occasional hum of a humidifier accompanying the dull ache and the drumming in my head. At times like these the only thoughts that I allow to occupy my muddled have become rather predictable but they are thoughts that I have seldom uttered for fear of being declared a ‘girl-man’ but today uttering these words feel liberating – “I need my mommy!”
Yes, I was and will always be a mama’s boy. In truth, me and my brothers (sorry I’m outing you boys) but were all mama’s boys. When Super Mom and I first met, my dear, beautiful mom was still alive and well and yes, I was still living at home. Why? Because Polynesian men love their mothers and Polynesian mothers absolutely adore their sons. Call us what you will, but in our household there was and forever will be only one person who was as loving, nurturing, kind and selfless and that was our mother. She was a rare human being and even though we rarely deserved to be treated with such care and thoughtfulness, our mother spent most of her life doting over us, particularly when we were ill.
I have many fond memories of my mother but I remember her most when I was ill because it was at those times that she really showed me what it means to truly serve and love another person. I was a sickly child and I distinctly remember, even after all these years, seeing my mom at my bedside watching over me, helping to nurse me back to health. I also watched her perform the same service for other people who were in need, even people who were not family members. That’s the kind of person that she was.
So naturally, when I’m under the weather I think of my mom because she showed me that genuine, undivided and undying love that only a mother can provide.
In mom’s absence, Super Mom has been my rock. But Super Mom has her limitations and she will have said, “Stop being a big baby,” at least twice in a day before I finally get the hint that it’s time to buck up and be a man. Some people are not our mothers and for good reason – our significant other is meant to be a companion, a friend, a soul-mate, a confidant, an accomplice and a comforter.
I know that there are times when I think that my wedding vows included things like, “You will coddle, pamper, indulge, spoil, pander and do everything in your power to make this man feel like he is a king,” but that king of thing never happens. Otherwise we cease to have spouses and our marriage vows are expressed simply for the sake of having a second mother to do all the things that mom did for us as kids. An unhappy union to be sure.
So even though I miss my mom dearly for being the best possible nurse a kid could have, I’m grateful to have a wife who makes sure that I’m okay and healthy to perform my duties as a husband, a father, an employee and a leader in my community. But she also makes sure that I do not dodge those duties by humoring my every whim but rather encouraging me to be stronger through calm reassurance, patience and uplifting statements. Sometimes the statements need to be more bold but never does she utter a word with malevolence. Everything is done with love and kindness.
I truly miss my mom but I’m so grateful for my wife and the way that she is carrying on the tradition of strong, courageous women in our family.