After two decades of being married.

After being married for 21 years, my wife suggested that I take another woman out for dinner and a movie. She clarified that the woman in question was my mother, who had been a widow for 19 years. Due to my busy work schedule and taking care of our three children, I hadn’t been able to visit her frequently. That night, I called my mother to invite her for dinner and a movie, and she seemed surprised, asking if everything was alright. I reassured her that I simply wanted to spend some quality time together, just the two of us. After a moment of consideration, she happily agreed to the idea.

On that Friday evening, I felt a touch of nervousness as I headed to pick her up. Her hair was beautifully curled, and she had donned the dress she wore during her last wedding anniversary celebration. Her face glowed with a radiant smile, resembling that of an angel. “I mentioned to my friends that I’m going out with my son, and they were impressed,” she remarked as she got into the car. “They’re eager to hear all about our time together.”

We visited a restaurant that, while not fancy, had a charming and comfortable ambiance. My mother linked her arm with mine, carrying herself like a First Lady. As we settled at our table, I began reading the menu since her eyes could only manage large print. After glancing up midway through the menu, I noticed Mom gazing at me with a nostalgic smile on her lips. “I used to be the one reading the menu for you when you were little,” she said. In response, I told her, “Now it’s time for you to relax and let me return the favor.”

Throughout the dinner, we engaged in a pleasant conversation, nothing out of the ordinary, simply catching up on recent events in each other’s lives. We chatted so much that we ended up missing the movie. As I dropped her off at her house later, she mentioned, “I’d be willing to go out with you again, but only if I get to invite you next time.” I happily accepted her invitation.

“When I got home, my wife asked, ‘How was your dinner date?’” I replied, “It was wonderful, far better than I had ever imagined.” Unfortunately, a few days later, my mother passed away suddenly from a massive heart attack. I was unable to do anything for her due to the unexpected nature of her passing. Some time afterward, I received an envelope containing a restaurant receipt from the same place where my mother and I had dined. The attached note explained, ‘I paid this bill in advance. Although I wasn’t certain if I could be there, I covered the cost of two meals—one for you and another for your wife. You’ll never know what that night meant to me.’”

In that moment, when my father said, “I love you, son,” I grasped the significance of expressing affection and ensuring we allocate enough time to our loved ones. Nothing holds greater importance in life than family.

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