63: Never Too Busy

63: Never Too Busy

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks to My Mom

Never Too Busy

Kids spell love T-I-M-E.

~John Crudele

My mom’s life was a busy one. Raising four kids on her own was a full-time job in itself, but she also worked outside the home. Remarkably, she always seemed to find a little bit of extra time for us despite her schedule.

She would bundle us up and take us over to my aunt’s in the evening when she worked as a waitress in a small diner. We would just be finished with school and have to hurry so my mom would be on time for work. I thought when this began that she would pass us over to our aunt and hurry off as soon as we made it through the front gate, but that didn’t happen. Instead we would sit on the porch, my mom in her waitress uniform, and we would rock in my aunt’s big wooden swing and talk about what happened that day.

“I learned how to add numbers up to the hundreds,” my sister Sandy would say.

“That’s wonderful,” my mom would reply, hugging her tight.

“I learned how to write my name!” Larry, my younger brother, would shout.

My mom would get a piece of paper and a pencil out of her purse and hand it to my brother. “Show me how you do it,” she’d ask softly.

“Do you have enough time to hear what I did today?” I’d ask her.

Mom would smile at me and nod. “I’m never too busy for something important like that!”

She’d sit and listen as I described whatever wonderful adventure I’d had at school that day. Then she’d give us all a hug, wish us good night, and hurry off down the street. No matter how much of a hurry she must have been in, she always treated what we had to share with her as if it were the most important thing in the world.

There always seemed to be time for us. If my mom came home after a very long day from her two office jobs, I knew we would open the door to her smiling face. She would take just a few minutes to catch her breath, and then we’d gather in the kitchen and talk to her about everything under the sun while we helped her make dinner. She never seemed too tired to ask us questions and she was really interested in what was important to us, even though I know she must have been exhausted from work.

She gave us the gift of time again and again throughout the years. She would appear at the school play in which I had a part, even though I knew she would have to make up the time at work. She would smile at us when we came down during the summer to the office where she worked and asked if she had time to have lunch with us.

“I can’t think of anyone I’d rather have lunch with,” she’d say, and then we’d take the sandwiches we’d brought along with us down to the river that flowed through the city, sit on the grass and have a wonderful lunch. I never thought about all the things she could have done for herself, the break from activity she might have enjoyed, because she actually did love to give us any time she could.

Later on in her life, when she came to live with us following her retirement, my mom gave the gift of time to my children too. They would run around excitedly, asking their grandma if she would play with them, or read them a story, or go for a walk with them. By then my mom had health problems but she would always nod and sit down and read to them or tell them stories about when she was a little girl. Those moments were a tremendous gift that my children still talk about and treasure.

In the last few years of her life, I would take her to lunch or sit with her on the porch, and we would talk, reminisce about the past, dream of the future, and just enjoy being with each other. My mom would listen as I shared all of my hopes, my fears, and my dreams for my family, and she would always hang on every word. I would look at her and ask her if she minded me taking up so much of her free time.

“Nonsense,” she’d tell me. Then she’d give me a wink and say, “I’m never too busy to spend time with you. It’s one of the greatest joys of my life.”

I will always remember those wonderful words, and the loving heart behind them. It is a gift my mom gave to me for which I will forever be grateful. In this oh-so-busy world of ours, and in a life filled with challenges, she always had time to share her joy with me.

~John P. Buentello

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