Welcome to 2TheHeart!
"I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life." -- Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)
I am happy to finally have written a new story! I miss being able to write, but lately, the only time I have for writing, I usually want to sleep (2am), so there haven’t been many stories out of me recently! If you have a Mother’s Day story to share, please send it to 2TheHeart@gmail.com, with the subject line STORY SUBMISSION. Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms and grandmas in our 2TheHeart online family!
Nick’s Mother’s Day Gift
By Susan Farr Fahncke
This is the third mother’s day I will spend without my son. Our family had to leave our home in Utah almost three years ago and begin a new life eleven hundred miles away. This has been a change of many blessings and wonderful opportunities for my three youngest children, but woven through the positive changes has always been a deeper heartache for my oldest son, Nick, who couldn’t make the move with us.
Nick’s life has not been easy. He lost three cherished people in his life, all within a couple months of each other when he was only fifteen. I can only imagine the utter pain he felt as first his aunt, then his beloved Nana passed away, and then his dad moved to another state. It was hard enough for me to cope with the grief and the pain – I can’t imagine how these losses impacted him at such a critical age. All our children suffered through this horrible time in our lives, but I think Nick felt it most of all. He needed all three of those family members and they were simply gone. His life would never be the same.
Nick began to change and I watched in helplessness and horror as his life spiraled out of control. Counseling, church, prayer…nothing seemed to make any difference to him. He made horrible choices that took him further from God and further from us in every way. I kept thinking with time things would get better and he would get tired of living in misery, but time only seemed to compound his determination to live in the worst ways possible. He quit school and got lost in a life of drugs. He seemed to no longer care about his family and eventually it seemed that he no longer even noticed he had a family.
Nick had been in and out of jail more times than I could count. I went to every single hearing, counseling session, every single visitation. I prayed with him, I pleaded with him, and for a time he would change, only to slip back into his old lifestyle again. Talking to him did not help. He would become angry and deny everything. I felt my son was so lost.
Mother’s Day became an incredibly sad day for me over the years. Gone was my sweet boy – the boy with the hazel eyes and the devilish grin who would make me feel like the luckiest mom in the world. My thoughtful, golden boy was replaced with a boy who showed up looking like he had been up for days, drug-addled and lost. When I gave birth to Ian on Mother’s Day 2005, the only family member not present was Nick. Late that Nick he popped into the hospital to sit with me a wish me a happy Mother’s Day. My heart ached on what should have been a blissfully joyous day.
One of the most heartbreaking moments came on a warm summer evening. Nick had moved out months before. We rarely saw him and we all missed him deeply. He had become an elusive stranger that we couldn’t seem to reach anymore. It had been weeks since we saw him. Noah was about six and we were outside watering the flowers in our garden. I saw Nick’s car drive up the street and for a moment my heart leapt with joy. He was coming to visit! Noah particularly missed him – they used to have a brother bond that was unbreakable. As the blue car drew closer, I stood up and waved, a big welcoming grin on my face. Noah saw him at that moment and he too started waving excitedly. His brother was coming to see him! We watched first in confusion and then in heartbreak as Nick drove right past, casually waving as he passed. His car grew smaller and then disappeared altogether. I called his cell but he didn’t answer. It was the first of many times I saw him drive past our home on the way to his friend’s house. He just didn’t seem to care anymore.
Despite Nick’s drastic change of lifestyle, deep in my mother’s heart, I refused to believe this was permanent. I never, ever gave up the hope that one day he would come back to us.
Time has gone by and his life became even worse before it got better. Change takes time. Sometimes a very, very long time. Nick is now twenty-two. He has done most of his growing up within the walls of one type of jail or another. Very, very gradually, over time, I began to see changes in him; glimmers of the “old Nick”. He gave up drugs and began to find himself again. Last summer he first earned his GED and then continued on to graduate high school. This was a very defining moment for me; his deciding that his GED wasn’t enough and his determination to earn all the credits he was missing and get his diploma was one of the proudest moments of my life. I flew out for his graduation and my heart was full. My son was truly beginning to change.
Holidays, especially Mother’s Day, have been very sad for me with Nick still living in Utah and the rest of us so far away, but I have been amazed at how close our relationship has become. He calls me twice a week and writes every week. We talk about everything – another thing I never thought would happen! We have become closer than ever and I see him finding his talents and his footing. His once cold heart is now kind and compassionate. He is becoming the kind of son I always hoped he would be. He will be starting college this fall and has fallen in love with the world of finance. (Sometimes he discusses things that are so far over my head, I have no idea what he is saying!) He has become again the thoughtful, sweet boy whom I have so terribly missed.
This Sunday is Mother’s Day. Again, I will not get to spend it with Nick, but for weeks he has been hinting at a surprise for me. Today I learned what it was. I received an envelope with a beautiful, simple, hand-drawn rose on the front. “Happy Mother’s Day” was inscribed on the front. I opened it up and read:
I hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day! Thank you so much for always being there for me and for bringing me into this word. I love you tons!
Love, your son
Tucked into the card were a ticket and some papers. The ticket flitted out and landed on my lap. I could see that it was for The Celtic Woman in Salt Lake City – next week. Confused, my first thought was he spent so much money on a concert ticket that I couldn’t go to. And then I opened the papers, folded neatly inside the card. I gasped at what I saw. An airline ticket for me to fly to Utah for an overnight trip to attend the concert with my mom and mother-in-law. Not only did he arrange all of this HUGE surprise just for me (with the help of his dad), but he also got tickets for both his grandmothers for Mother’s Day. THIS is my son! THIS is the amazing, kind, thoughtful boy I raised. My son is back.
It isn’t the expense of the gift; it’s the thoughtful, careful planning and sacrifice that must have gone into it – right down to his even arranging a ride for me from the airport. He thought of everything. The kid who once drove past us on the street is gone. I know it with all my heart. I cannot stop the tears of gratitude. This Mother’s Day will be the sweetest one ever. I got my son back.
Susan Farr Fahncke
Susan@2theheart.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
I am the founder and editor of 2TheHeart and I teach online writing workshops. I am also mom to Nick, Maya, Noah and Ian and step-mom to Brandie and now step-grandmom to baby Sydnie! You can see more of my writing on my page at www.2TheHeart.com/SusanFarrFahncke and learn more about my writing workshops here: www.2theheart.com/writingworkshops