Michele Grgas Thomas The Triplicate

I was born on the Friday before Mother's Day and as a result Mother's Day has always been an integral part of my birthday celebration. When I was a kid I usually had one birthday party with my friends and a family party on Mother's Day. Mom and I shared a cake and she always let me pick the flavor.

When I had children we had more reasons to celebrate together. Now we planned picnics and fun excursions the kids would enjoy. We spent many a Mother's Day at playgrounds, parks or beaches and then, eventually, at grand buffets that filled growing boys up.

Then, presto change-o, Mom's gone, my kids are adults and Mother's Day and my birthday become family reunion weekend. Since the boys live in different cities, we all benefit by having the Mother's birthday-Mother's Day combo. It's become the annual destination holiday at the beach.

Last weekend was my thirty-fourth Mother's Day and two of my sons

were here.

In a drawer of my nightstand I have a spotty collection of Mother's

Day cards including the traditional handmade construction paper and

crayon variety. Some years the boys presented me with those imaginative

craft project gifts made in grammar school. One of my favorites was the

glazed handprint in clay. My twins each gave me one when they were in

maybe third grade. I still have Collin's but Matt's fell off the

bookcase and broke years ago. I sobbed, "Matt's hand is broken," and the

boys just laughed.

My youngest son Dana has a knack with greeting cards. He takes his

time and puts a lot of thought into selecting a card with the perfect

message - whether it's Mother's Day, my birthday or Christmas. This year

he brought his lovely card with him along with his wife Holly and my

granddaughter Kayla.

The sun came out for us on Mother's Day and our family went to the

beach. The dogs ran and swam and the humans walked or played with Kayla.

We brought a lifetime supply of buckets, shovels and sand toys.

My beautiful daughter-in-law knelt in the sand teaching my

granddaughter how to make a castle. My sons and Rick were throwing a

Frisbee and sticks for the dogs to fetch. The sun was warm and the sky

was blue. What could be better?

Mom would have loved Sunday afternoon. I can picture her sitting on

the beach mat in the sand, like she did so many times when we lived in

Hawaii. Predictably she would have retold the story of her first

Mother's Day and shared embarrassing stories about me as a baby. But I

wouldn't have minded this time.

Mom would have found the family resemblance in Kayla's eyes. And her

own eyes would have lit up like Christmas lights at the sight of her

grandsons - they always did.

Another day with Mom would have made Mother's Day perfect.

Reach Michele Thomas, The Daily Triplicate's publisher, at

mthomas@triplicate.com, 464-2141, or stop by 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.