Mother’s Day 2008 was easily one of the loveliest Mother’s Days I’d ever had. The kids, grandkids, my ex-mother in law and father in law, Michael and I went out for brunch at a beautiful country club. The food was wonderful, our table was in a perfect location, my presents were beautiful, the weather was gorgeous, the little kids were behaved and every one had a great time.

As we were leaving, Michael went to get to the car and he pulled around as we all chitchatted on the steps. Michael always just waited while we (per usual) chatted up a storm as if we hadn’t just spent a couple of hours in conversation. So he just sat there in the car waiting patiently for me to wrap things up.

My ex-father in law (100 percent Italian like Michael and also a machinist) went around to the car to say goodbye and shake his hand. I think my ex-in laws always appreciated that Michael welcomed them in the house and at family events. Plus he and my ex-father in law are very much alike.

I remember driving home and thinking it was easily one of the nicest Mother’s Day I’d ever had and my kids and Michael have always gone all out for me on Mother’s Day but last year easily topped most of them.

This year we had it at my house and although all the kids said they would cook, I made several dishes and cleaned up because a lot of people were coming.

It was a nice day as is any day with the kids and grandkids but I thought about last year so much. I remember thinking, on that day, that it was just the most perfect day ever.

So much can change in one year and since Michael got sick a year to the day of my son’s wedding (also one of the happiest days I’ve ever had), I try to appreciate what I have when I have it.

This year was “okay” but Michael was completely out of it all day and I missed him being part of what is such a special day for me.

I’m just glad that when Mother’s Day was so perfect last year I recognized it on that day and appreciated what I had when I had it.

That is one of the benefits of grief work. You learn to appreciate the good when it is there. For all of the years I’ve been married to Michael, the days have been good, but some have been excellent and others, like Nick’s wedding and last year’s Mother’s Day, were downright spectacularly perfect.

I’m glad I’ve learned what lovely looks like and to have it to hold onto when things are not as good.

I’m grateful for the love of my children and grandchildren and am glad they’re here for me.