Yesterday, May 23, 2016, was my husband’s 50th birthday. I’ve already shared in an April column, “Love + Marriage = Hard Work” how fabulous he is. The half century marker is a pretty momentous occasion though, so I couldn’t just let the day pass without acknowledging it, but I was at a loss as to how. Then, thanks to Facebook’s habit of showing memories, I knew exactly what to do.
James’ mom, Gloria, left this earth way too early. What follows is a letter he published on his blog Mother’s Day 2013. A tribute to the woman who raised him seemed the perfect way to celebrate his 50th birthday.
Much has happened the past 15 Mother’s Days, and there’s not a day that goes by I don’t think about you, miss you and yearn for one of our long talks. I hope you would be proud of the man I am growing into. On this day, I wanted to write you a letter to bring you up to date and honor you.
I finally graduated and earned my Bachelors in Computer Science in 1998. I know how important it was to you that I continue and complete my education. I only wished you would have been here to witness this milestone. The same month, I finally got that promotion to Manager I was telling you about. You were right! I really can do and become anything I want.
Unfortunately, I lost my job in 2000 and had to go on unemployment. On a good note, I had the privilege of working with Dad and Marc for 6 months. I hated every day out in the hot Sun, mowing, weed eating, and sweating. It was a very miserable time of my life, but it brought the men in your life closer and for that I am most grateful.
Remember one of my dreams to be a coach. I started substituting in Copperas Cove and an opportunity opened up for me at one of the junior highs in 2001. I coached 8th grade football, basketball and track. Although it was only for 2 years, it was amazing to influence and lead these young men to become something greater than them. I often found myself quoting your wisdom and insight. Many of them have and are graduating college now. Surprisingly, they still remember their old coach.
I recall a time I once told you I wanted to be a priest. Well, I didn’t quite follow that path, but I did follow my heart and go into full time ministry from 2003 to 2007. I was involved in youth ministry, partnering with about 40 churches, teaching leadership, hosting camps, conferences and events. I’ve gone on several missions to Macedonia, Kenya and Uganda. Becky and I even started an international ministry. For the past couple years, we raise support to care for orphans and widows, as well as oversee several churches and ministers. I think you would have loved to go on mission with me.
Your grandchildren are taller than Becky and me. Of course that’s not saying much. Stephen will be 21. You would love having long talks with him too, since he is a lot like me. His intellect borderlines genius, but we try to keep that from him so he stays humble. Wow, that just reminded me of that Mac Davis song, “Oh Lord it’s hard to be humble”. HA! You used to say that was my theme song.
Brittany turns 18 this year, and still has that sweet spirit. She was awarded Academic All-District & All-State in volleyball. She is a math guru, graduated high school early, with honors, in the top 4% of her class, and headed to Baylor in the fall. Although I do a pretty good job of not spoiling her, I got to admit she just melts my heart and almost has me wrapped around her finger.
Chris just turned 16 and will be getting his driver’s license soon. He has been a good athlete since he could run, throw a ball & swing a bat. He played every sport, every year until recently. He made varsity as a sophomore and still has those dimples that drive the girls wild. He’s pretty charming and gets away with more than he should. Wonder where he got that?
I’m sad you and Becky didn’t get to build more of a relationship. She is the only other woman I’ve loved and God truly knew I needed a wife as much as I needed my mother. She’s an awesome woman of God, mother, wife, cook and writer. They say men will find a wife like their mother. In my case, I found one who honors you in her love, character and resolve. She is definitely the only other woman in the world who knows how to manage me. It’s a tall task and she has graciously stepped up to the challenge.
Well mom, that about sums up the highlights of the past 15 Mother’s Days. It’s been pretty lonely on this day each May. Although God has put some special women in my life as spiritual mothers, none can compare or fill the void you left behind. On past Mother’s Days, I have thanked and honored them for their role in my life.
Today…I want to honor you. I continue see your influence and touch in my life, and it’s priceless. Thank you for being my mother and everything you imparted to me. I have not forgotten you. I love and miss you so much.
“Because you were, I am.” HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!
Love Always…Your Son,
Three years have passed since he originally wrote the letter, so here are some updates Mom: James is in grad school now pursuing a Masters of Science in Management & Leadership, he expects to graduate in 2017, he also went on to be a manager in another company several years later; the young men he coached have all graduated college and have families of their own; James went back into full time ministry later in 2013 and now pastors a church in Beeville; Stephen turns 25 soon; Brittany will be 22, will graduate with her Masters in Accounting, from Baylor this December, & has a contract to work for Ernest and Young in 2017; Chris is 20 just finished his Sophomore year in college, is a business major and plays college football.
Thank you Gloria for raising such an incredible son.
Until Next Time,
Becky J Miller