It was a piece of advice given to my mother by her mother, who in turn imparted it to me.
I must have been about 13 or 14 and my parents were in desperate need of a new car. They had driven around in jalopies for most of their (and our) lives. They were not people of means. And, my father's debilitating illnesses (like asthma) were a constant financial burden on the family. In other words, they were virtually broke. So, they kept vehicles FAR past their efficient use. In fact, I remember a Buick my father owned that had a huge hole in the floor that he covered with a car mat. We'd remove it to watch the highway go by under our feet!
They so desperately wanted a new, reliable vehicle that they could feel safe in and be proud of. But, where would the money come from? I remember my parents discussing what they might do when the idea of borrowing the money from my grandmother came up. My folks were loath to burrow from ANYONE and my grandmother was not a woman of means either. But, there was no viable alternative. And, so, hats in hand, they went to her.
I'll never forget my grandmother's response. Without hesitation, in her thick Italian accent, she said:
Of course, I will give you the money. It was going to be yours after I died anyway. So, why should I wait until then when I can give it to you now and SEE you actually enjoy it.
I remember my grandmother delivering $5,000 cash, all in crisp, $100 bills. My mother cried when she counted the money - she had never seen a $100 bill before.
The moral of the story is this: Don't postpone kindness. Don't hold back showing your love. Don't wait until it's too late to express your deep feelings for someone. Do it now. Do it often. I think that we all fantasize about the nice things people will say about us at our funerals (at least we HOPE that will say them!). Well, don't wait until then - say them now about the others in your life.
With this in mind and Mother's Day upon us, I'd like to say this about Stella: She has been the rock of my existence. Of course, she loves me unconditionally and demonstrates it constantly. But, she is also honest. She supports me completely when she feels that I am right, but also challenges me when I am wrong. She is fierce in her independence and imparted that drive to me. She has taught me to respect ALL who earn it and demand respect in return. She has shown me what it means to be gentle without fear. She gave me a love of reading and learning. And, perhaps, most importantly, she infused in me a self-confidence to know that although I am no better than anyone else, certainly the converse is true - in the end, I need not answer to anyone but myself.
Happy Mother's Day, Stella. Happy Mother's Day to all the women fortunate enough to have earned the title, mother. We love you all!!!!!!!