“Those boys must really love their mama.”

We were at our favorite restaurant this afternoon and our server told us that the bartender said the above phrase to her as we walked by the window, on our way to the front door. She made the remark because myself and my two sons, aged 9 and 15 were both wearing pink t-shirts and tu tus. The inflection with which she said it, made it seem like I must have forced them or bribed them to dress this way. They weren’t dressed that way because they love me, but rather because a dear friend of mine has metastatic breast cancer and is fighting a years long fight against it. It’s not my name on their shirts, it’s hers. After days of cutting tulle and assembling tu tus, they wore them proudly in a local 5K that raises money for cancer patients here in our county. Not only can you adorn yourself with pink paper and write on it who you walk in Honor of, but also those who you walk in memory of.

The boys also dress like that because they love their great grandmothers. My grandmother Elizabeth, who went by Betty, and my husband’s, Edna. Neither of these children ever got to meet Grandma Betty. She lost her battle with metastatic breast cancer when I was just ten years old. The memories of her thick accent and love of Wheel of Fortune and Michael Landon live on only in the stories they’ve heard me tell. Over and over and over, I’ve said “Everything tastes better when you mix it by hand, ” because Grandma told me so. She would have disapproved of some of the choices I have made but I know she would love my babies. Wrap them up tight in her strong but flabby arms and squeeze them. She did it with me…Great Grandma Edna passed away just a few years ago and her memories are fresher and first hand. There is a hilarious story about underwear shopping at Wal-Mart. She always grabbed the check when we went out to eat, even if she needed hand signals or covert ops to succeed. Great Grandma was an old-fashioned, mid-western farm girl in some cases, but she played cards like a Las Vegas card shark. I miss her. She taught me how to crochet and loved both my boys as her own great grandchildren, even though one is a “step”.

My boys love me, I don’t dispute that. In fact, I relish it. However, they are sensitive souls who appreciate the women who have come, and gone before me. I’ve taught them that loving people isn’t just about blood, it’s about who you learn to love. Some we claim as family and some we call our friends. It is with tenderness and compassion that I teach my boys to treat all people.

If you see one of my sons holding a door for a stranger, offering to put their cart back at the grocery store or want to pay for the person in line behind them at Starbucks, know it is because of love, the love they have for all people, as Jesus, and their mama, taught them.

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