For more than a decade, I have been blessed to know a man who tells the most hysterical stories, that I know can’t be 100% true, but still leave me doubling over in giggles. We were first united as colleagues, but are bound as family. We have laughed a million laughs together and we have occasionally cried together. Though parted by many miles, we have shared the journey of our children’s lives together and of our own personal achievements and setbacks. We have climbed many mountains and looked at the valley below…with pride. I love my friend who signs off on every card, email and phone call with “the best is yet to come.” Allow me to introduce you to my friend Steve….
UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. A MOTHER’S DAY DEDICATION
by Steve Bauer
It was just another day in paradise. The television blared alerts declaring that the Midwest was a kaleidoscope of snow, ice and wind that was wreaking havoc with telephone poles, trees and overflowing rivers. Here in Florida, I was watching the palm trees swaying, and tried to find a cloud in the powder blue canvas above. There was not a one to find.
She sat in her chair with a blank stare. I sat across from her trying to read what thoughts, feelings or information hid in the deep recesses of her mind. I could read nothing for I was looking at a blank slate. The once perfectly coiffed hair was replaced by long stringy strands of haylike bristles that framed the hollow eyes, the sunken cheeks and the lopsided lip stick. She looked as though a five year old was let loose and drew circles around her mouth.
How many times had she straightened my tie, slicked down my numerous cowlicks, or tucked in my shirt? Now she blankly stared at my spiked hair and I wondered if she wanted to slick it down? Did she care that my hair was a gelled forest of cowlicks? How many times did she stir the oatmeal and pretend that the spoon was an airplane and my mouth the airplane hangar? Now the loud sounds of jets overhead did not even cause her to blink. Does she hear it? Does she care?
The stained blouse mirrored a splattered finger painting. This formerly impeccably dressed, stiffly starched, fashion plate was a crumpled mass of cotton. Who mismatched this blouse and shorts? Who chose not to change her stained blouse? Who mixed stripes with plaid? Who could let this happen? I dove into the closet and pulled out a clean white tee shirt to replace what she wore. I wandered back to a time when she gave me some sage advice…white and diamonds match everything. Now the diamonds are replaced with glass, but she still loves to look at them sparkle.
She grabbed my hand, and unlike decades ago, I now led her and supported her so she would not topple. How many times had she done the very same thing for me? I grew and learned to do it myself…she would just need my hand for support more and more. When did the roles change? When did I become the parent to the person who parented me?
There was a time, not too many decades ago that our loved ones did not survive long enough to completely go around the circle of life. Their lives did not last long enough for roles to change. I work in the business of taking care of those who have taken care of us. To all of the residents in the facilities that we see each and every day, the mothers of someone, the matriarch of a tribe…I send a note of “Happy Mother’s Day.” And to my own mom, who may understand this or not,“Thank you for a lifetime of unconditional love. It is my pleasure to return the favor.”
Steve Bauer, SLP, Senior RVP @ Functional Pathways
Pictured with his beautiful parents, along with Dan & Angel Knorr