Tiny Mike’s mom died today. She had spent quite a bit of time in the hospital recently and was on oxygen. She might not have been overly healthy, but her death is shocking to me. Tiny Mike has been married to my sister for ten years, so I've spent time with his mother on quite a few occasions. She was always kind to me and everyone in my family. She was a fantastic baker and cook and I loved to exchange recipes with her. The last time I saw her I teased her about having a bake-off, but she never took me up on that offer. The fact that she shared her secret recipe for Meat Stuffing (French-Canadian recipe) means a lot more today than it ever did. I’ll think of her every year on Christmas Eve when I make this dish for her Tiny Mike.
My favorite memory of her is from several summers ago. We were all together, having a barbeque at my sister’s house and someone must have called her son “Tiny Mike.” She laughed a little and asked where the nickname came from. We told her that Spice had made it up, but we weren’t sure why or how. She laughed and laughed and simply said, “Well, I used to change his diapers.” Then she laughed some more.
While she was full of laughter and feeling social that day, I believe she experienced darker times and preferred to be alone when those times hit. Tiny Mike always invited his mother to family functions and she would always accept. We all understood that while she accepted, she would likely change her mind the day of the event. As the years went on, this habit of not attending events became more frequent. But no matter the event, a summer bbq or a holiday dinner, Tiny Mike always fixed up a plate and left the party to deliver a meal to his mother. Even though she didn’t want to be a part of things, Tiny Mike did his part to make her feel included.
During these times, I know Tiny Mike was torn. One part of him wanted to be at the party and he wanted his mother there too, she was invited after all. Yet the other part of him wanted to be with her so she wasn’t alone. When I heard the news today, I knew that he would be questioning whether or not he was a good son to his mother. I tried to reassure him repeatedly today that he was fantastic to his mother. He answered her every call, he ran her errands, he did everything he possibly could to help her.
It’s eerie to me that my sister and I have both married men with mothers that behave similarly. First one that says boys marry women like their mothers gets a smack! Both EN and Tiny Mike are on the short list of Nicest Men in the World. Either one of them would do anything for family and friends. I have seen both of these men bend over backwards to do their mothers bidding, run her errands, etc, etc. It saddens me to see these grown men running in circles, not ever feeling that they are good enough or that they try hard enough. I wish they could see what the rest of the world sees: they try their best and they are great men that put their families first.
Tiny Mike, you were a wonderful son to your mom and I’m willing to bet that if you had ever posed that question to her, that’s the answer she would have given you.