After 17 years of marriage, my wife wanted me totake another woman out to dinner and a movie. She said, 'I love you, but I know this other woman lovesyou and would love to spend some time with you.'* * *The other woman that my wife wanted me to visitwas my MOTHER, who has been alone for 20 years,but the demands of my work and my two boys hadmade it possible to visit her only occasionally.* * *That night I called to invite her to go out forDinner and a movie.* * *'What's wrong, aren't you well,' she asked?* * *My mother is the type of woman who suspects that alate night call or a surprise invitation is a signof bad news.'I thought it would be pleasant to spend sometime with you,' I responded. 'Just the two of us.'She thought about it for a moment, and then said,'I would like that very much.'* * *That Friday after work, as I drove over to pick her up I was a bit nervous. When I arrived at herhouse, I noticed that she, too, seemed to be nervousabout our date. She waited in the door. She had curled her hair and waswearing thedress that she had worn to celebrate her lastbirthday on November 19th.* * *She smiled from a face that was as radiant as anangel's. "I told my friends that I was going to goout with my son, and they were impressed," she said,as she got into that new white van. "They can't wait to hear about ourdate".* * *We went to a restaurant that, although notelegant, was very nice and cozy. My mother took myarm as if she were the First Lady. After we satdown, I had to read the menu. Her eyes could onlyread large print. Half way through the entries, Ilifted my eyes and saw Mom sitting there staring atme. A nostalgic smile was on her lips. "It was Iwho used to have to read the menu when you weresmall," she said. "Then it's time that you relax andlet me return the favor," I responded.* * *During the dinner, we had an agreeable conversation- -nothing extraordinary but catching upon recent events of each other's life. We talked somuch that we missed the movie.* * *As we arrived at her house later, she said,'I'll go out with you again, but only if you let meinvite you.' I agreed.* * *"How was your dinner date ?"asked my wife when I got home. 'Very nice. Much more so than I could have imagined,' I answered.* * *A few days later, my mother died of a massiveheart attack. It happened so suddenly that I didn'thave a chance to do anything for her.* * *Som e time later, I received an envelope with acopy of a restaurant receipt from the same placemother and I had dined. An attached note said: 'Ipaid this bill in advance. I wasn't sure that Icould be there; but nevertheless, I paid for two plates - one for you and the other for your wife..You will never know what that night meant for me.I love you, son.'* * *At that moment, I understood the importance ofsaying in time: 'I LOVE YOU' and to give our lovedones the time that they deserve. Nothing in life ismore important than your family. Give them the timethey deserve, because these things cannot be put offtil l 'some other time.'* * * Somebody said it takes about six weeks to get backto normal after you've had a baby.... somebodydoesn't know that once you're a mother, 'normal' is history.* * *Somebody said you learn how to be a mother byinstinct .. somebody never took a three-year-old shopping. * * *Somebody said being a mother is boring ....somebody never rode in a car driven by a teenager with a driver'spermit.Somebody said if you're a'good' mother, your child will 'turn out good'.... somebody thinks a child comes withdirections and a guarantee.* * *Somebody said you don't need an education to be amother.... somebody never helped a fourth graderwith his math.* * *Somebody said you can't love the second child asmuch as you love the first .... somebody doesn't have two children.* * *Somebody said the hardest part of being a motheris labor and delivery.... somebody never watched her 'baby' get on the bus for the first day of kindergarten ... or on a plane headed for military 'boot camp.'* * *Somebody said a mother can stop worrying after herchild gets married....somebody doesn't know thatmarriage adds a new son or daughter-in-law to amother's heartstrings.* * *Somebody said a mother's job is done whenher last child leaves home....somebody never had grandchildren.* * *Somebody said your mother knows you love her, soyou don't need to tell her....somebody isn't a mother. To all the 'mothers' in your lifeand to everyone who ever had a mother. This isn'tjust about being a mother; it's about appreciatingthe people in your life while you have them....no matter who that person is.