Above is the photo I just texted my kids. It’s not a great photo, obviously, and I probably should at least have cleaned off the countertop first. But since they live over a thousand miles away, I knew they’d want to see evidence that their Mother’s Day gift to me had arrived.

I love tulips and truffles: who doesn’t? The truth is, though, that I’ve already received the very best gift, the one every mother in her right mind hopes for in all those years of working and worrying, nurturing and nudging.

My boys are all grown up. They’ve reached adulthood, and they are good men, happy and successful, making their inimitable contributions to the world while enjoying their lives. They’re thriving.

I give them all the credit for how they’ve turned out. Sometimes I think they managed it in spite of me rather than because of me. Still, it feels like an achievement when I regard my competent adult sons. And as much as I would sometimes like to put them in a time machine and zap them back to an age when they were cuddly and chirruping, their independence is a relief.

Of course, it would be nice if we lived closer to each other. We could be having brunch together right now. The twelve-hundred-miles-away thing is overdoing it a bit, really. Alas, Denver, where they both live, insists on being located in the middle of the country. And my husband and I aren’t ready to pull up stakes and abandon Napa Valley for the Rockies.

Not yet, anyway. Who knows what will happen as Michale and I edge further into our creaking golden years, or if someday we have grandchildren exerting upon us their gravitational pull?

Being a mother means never entirely letting go of the notion that your children still need you, in a basic, survival-based way, despite all evidence to the contrary. A part of me is always poised to rush to the airport whenever I suspect a hint of something amiss in the voice of the grown son on the other end of the line. Never mind the increasing unlikeliness of my having the solution to their problems, and the growing possibility that it will be me needing them as time goes on.

For now, things are in a fortunate balance. We’ve come a long way together, and while the physical distance between us is a nuisance, it’s no match for our bond. I count myself one of the very luckiest moms on the planet.


  1. Well said, Jan. Getting over the idea that I’m the solution to my kids’ problems – it’s a hard role to break out of! Pretty flowers and those truffles look delicious – can I have one? Happy Mothers Day to you!

    • Thank you, Hannah! And to you as well, if it applies (which in a way it does to all of us, since we’ve all had mothers, at least at some point) 🙂

  2. Happy Mothers’ Day! I hope you had a good one. Tulips and truffles are the perfect gifts! These unreasonable kids who insist on living in the center of the country! Denver is a wonderful destination, as we have discovered, but 2000 miles is so far to travel (and we have a 3 1/2 hour drive after we leave Denver to reach our oldest’s home). I don’t think I could live in CO, though. Too much winter. We last passed through Denver on April 30 on our way back to the airport. It was snowing!

    • Denver has the most unpredictable weather I’ve experienced in the US — and I lived in Chicago for a couple of years, so that’s saying something. I’ve been in Denver in December when folks were wearing T shirts and sitting at outside cafés, and in April when it was shirtsleeve weather on Monday and snowing like mad on Wednesday. To say nothing of the summer thunderstorms! Still, it’s a fun city, isn’t it?

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