Our first child was born May 12, 1985, which was Mother’s Day.

Sherry was supposed to arrive in late April. However, she wanted to make an entrance, and made us wait 17 days before presenting us with her wrinkled presence.

It was the best Mother’s Day present my wife ever got, and it was the best Mother’s Day present we could have ever given each of our mothers.

I am fortunate to have known the three best mothers in the world — my mom, my mother-in-law and, the best mother of them all, Pam, my wife.

From the moment Sherry was born, and Louis four years later, Pam dedicated her life to our children. She put aside any plans and personal goals she had for herself to take care of our children.

We always felt that when you have children, you are a family, and Pam made our children the focus of the family.

Pam did all the right things for our children. She nurtured them, raised them, taught them to be strong yet kind, taught them right from wrong and, as they got older, she let them make their own decisions, even if she disagreed with them.

To this day, Pam loves our adult children unconditionally and will do anything to help them.

My mom, Vivian, loved me, my brother and my sister with her whole heart and soul. Like most moms back then, she was a stay-at-home mom. She took care of the house, helped us with our homework, bandaged our injuries, nursed us when we were sick, hugged us when we were sad, praised us when we were good, and spanked us when we were bad. Mom never waited for dad to get home; she took care of business herself.

My mom also provided us with an excellent example of grandparenting.

When Pam and I first started dating, I met her mother, Helen. As my relationship with Pam grew, so did my relationship with my mother-in-law. We became great friends, and Helen treated me as if I were her own son. She was always there for me when I needed her, but she never meddled in our affairs. She set the standard for mothers-in-law. The grandchildren called her “Kissie” because every time she would see them, she would kiss them incessantly.

Just over 20 years ago, my mom and mother-in-law were called into heaven. My mom left us on May 12, 1998 — Sherry’s 13th birthday. Just over a year later, Pam’s mom joined my mom.

Every few years, all the dates line up when Mother’s Day, Sherry’s birthday and my mom’s entrance to heaven fall on the same day. When that happens, we don’t focus on the sadness, but smile as we remember that tearful Mother’s Day in 1985 when at 1:15 p.m. all three mothers were given the greatest gift of all — a beautiful child and grandchild.

— Papia lives in Metairie

Advocate readers may submit stories of about 500 words to The Human Condition at features@theadvocate.com or The Advocate, Living, 10705 Rieger Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70809. There is no payment, and stories will be edited. Authors should include their city of residence, and, if writing about yourself, a photo.

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