I’ve mentioned in previous columns that I haven’t always had the closest relationship with my mom.
It has taken years (decades actually) for my heart to soften toward my mother.
Even during those times when I knew I should forgive her but couldn’t and wouldn’t, there was always the nagging thought in the back of my mind saying, “She won’t be around forever, Nicole. You’re going to lose the opportunity to make amends.”
I am so grateful for the relationship I have today with my mom. Moms are special people. They are often the ones who first teach us about kindness.
I get letters all the time from grown children who mention the importance of their mother in their lives. I’d like to share a few of those letters today.
“On the morning of Feb. 27, my life changed forever. I found out my mom had passed away at the young age of 63. She was my only parent and my best friend, as I’m an only child.
“My husband and I live an hour away and just needed to go someplace where we could sit and call family and friends. We decided to go to The Shack in north Fargo because it was very near to her house. We asked to sit in the back corner so we could try and not disturb anyone with our tears and sadness.
“The first hour, we were on the phone and doing a lot of crying. The waitresses were very kind and kept filling our coffee cups and brought us a box of tissues. We then decided we should eat something and had breakfast.
“When we were ready to leave, the waitress said our bill was taken care of, which made both of us start to cry again.
“We don’t know who paid for our meal that morning but it meant everything to us. It was a very hard morning and to have someone make a kind gesture during that moment made us smile. I want to thank whoever it was and will definitely pay it forward in the future.”
And from another reader:
“In late January, on a 30-below-zero day, I received a call informing me that my 96-year-old Mom had fallen and was taken to the Sanford emergency room by ambulance.
“I went to my garage to drive there, and my car wouldn’t start. I called several service stations and friends looking for jumper cables, and in mid-afternoon, reached Travis at a service station nearby.
“When I first asked about jumper cables, he told me the station didn’t have them. When I went on to tell him about my urgency, he asked me for my address and said he’d stop by on his way home with his personal jumper cables.
“He had to push my car out of the garage. When he attempted to jump the battery, he didn’t succeed and had to push my car back into the garage! He then drove me to Sanford. What a caring young man!
“That was just the start of many kindnesses over the next five days.
“I stayed with my mom that night, and the following afternoon she had surgery to repair her fractured hip. My very caring friends sat with me during Mom’s surgery and transported me back and forth from the hospital.
“When my cellphone broke the next day, my friend, Cynthia, drove me to the phone store. Having heard of my car troubles, my childhood friend, David, later showed up at the hospital with his grandson, took my automatic garage door opener and car keys and called later to say that my car was back in working order.
“After what had seemed like one minor disaster after another, a stranger, friends and family all showed me acts of kindness and helped me stay strong for my Mom before, during and after her surgery. She is now recovering nicely and walking with the aid of a walker.” – Judith
And from another reader, Lucy:
“Nicole, I must share this story of kindness that means so much to our family.
“My mom, in her mid-90s, resides in a Fargo assisted living facility.
“Years ago, she became acquainted with her tablemate’s son, Gary. They discovered a shared love of crossword puzzles. Almost daily, Gary stopped by Mom’s room to see how she was doing on The Forum Sunday crossword. With a smile and some teasing, he also filled in the answers he was sure she would not know, such as computer lingo and rap singers.
“Gary’s mother eventually moved to another facility and has passed away. Still, Gary continues to stop by Mom’s every Monday with an enlarged copy of The Forum’s Sunday crossword.
“Thank you, Gary, for this very kind and thoughtful gesture. We appreciate it so much.”
To all Moms out there, including my own, thank you for being the original teachers of the belief that kindness is contagious. Happy Mother’s Day!
Nicole J. Phillips is a former television anchor for Fox News in Fargo. She is a writer, speaker and mother of three kids. Nicole is married to Ohio University’s Men’s Head Basketball Coach Saul Phillips. Her columns run every Saturday. You can also get a Daily Dose of Inspiration from Nicole at www.nicolejphillips.com.