MY MOTHER TOLD ME that she had no trouble at all being seventy-one years old, but that she had a hard time understanding how she could possibly have a son who was forty-nine. It seemed unbelievable that his little body could possibly have grown so big. Women have a secret: they do not believe that men ever grow up. In her heart, I am still a little boy, bringing her a squashed flower clenched in a grubby fist; falling out of a tree and breaking my arm; out on my first date, nervous and reeking of cheap aftershave; sobbing at the loss of a first love; leaving home with harsh words; getting married; losing a wife; triumphs and disasters layered like a parfait. For my mother, time is not a continuum-all events are happening all of the time. Even the ones that you don't think have happened yet. Mothers remember every single instant of the joy and pain of giving birth and treasure each moment as though it were more precious than gold. That's why your mother loves you. Because you cost her so very much. Where there is love, there is forgiveness.

May 29, 1994