Joy Reilly PhD.
Joy

LOVE LETTER

FAMILY TOGETHERNESS

THIRTY YEARS OF LEAVING ENGLAND

LOVE LETTER

My son wrote an email from England:
“Mother:  Granny talks about
How much you wanted a baby
And how when I finally came you were so happy
And how Molly must be special if you like her,
Since I am your baby boy. 
So I wanted to let you know,
If you didn’t know already
That I love you so much
And I am extremely happy to have you as a mother.
I think you have done an exceptional job
And, of course, Dad--
And I know how much you mean to me
And how much you care for me
It does not go unnoticed.  I love you.”
Hello Patrick: Thank you for the lovely note.
And yes, Granny is right.  I was ecstatic.
Not only could I not wait in my excitement
For a baby, but motherhood is
The most important thing in my life.
I immediately felt I had known you for a long time
That there is an intuitive bond between us.
When I am upset, your presence and your touch
Have an instant calming effect upon me.
Your arrival was such a fulfilling time
That I thought each year was
The best it could ever be--
That it couldn’t possibly get any better
That it would be downhill from there.
But that never happened!
Each year of parenthood turns out to be
More rewarding than the one before.
Your sending me this note today just tops it.
I am just thrilled to be your mother.
I could not wish for anything more precious.

A few hours later, I got a 2 a.m. call from my son.
They had confiscated all belongings at London airport
Except his wallet and ticket on the day the Brits
Foiled a terrorist plot to blow up ten planes.
I had no idea when we would see him again.
His plane sat on a runway for five hours.
When he landed the next day-- I breathed again,
And said a prayer for those parents
Whose child will not return home. 
It is something, I cannot even imagine.


FAMILY TOGETHERNESS

Father and son sit in a hotel room in Cleveland
Decked out in cute orange-and-brown Santa hats
They drink beer and watch THE GAME.
I don’t care what YOU think,
The father says with deep venom
We need a whole new team, groans the son.
OH JUST GO TO A COMMERCIAL!
He hurls the ultimate insult
At the sports personality on screen.

I read the Sunday paper.  We are enjoying
An afternoon of family togetherness. 
WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?? Shouts the son.
NICE THROW!!! ARE YOU GOING TO SMILE ABOUT IT?
My angel could grow into a pretty nasty guy,
I think, as the rising levels of hostility
Destroy his lovely calm temperament.
Revealing an unexpected Dark Side.
(Obviously the influence of his father’s genes.)
Pat what do you think? You think Brady will get in today?
His father struggles for attention.  Pat is oblivious.
WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE THROWING IT TO?!!!
NICE JOB IDIOT!  My husband has had enough.
He drains his glass and moves to Martinis.
He grabs his monthly bills from the dresser.
This is bad, I think.  He’s going to use the game
To pay his bills--get all the bad news at the same time.
OH THAT’S NICE ---LET HIM GET A TOUCHDOWN!
WHAT IS THE COACH DOING?
Good thing YOUR son does not have high blood pressure
He says, trying to get some relief by tweaking me.
THAT IS SO SOFT, SO SOFT
SO STUPID, screams our son
The angrier the son gets, the happier the father gets
He is now giggling at this display of
Over-the-top-out-of-control
My son is cracking.  My husband is drinking.
And I am stupefied.
What is it about these Cleveland Browns fans?

THIRTY YEARS OF LEAVING ENGLAND


The day I am to leave England, again
My mother comes into my room early
Brings me tea in my favorite china mug
And Valerian to calm my nerves.
I cannot sleep.  She cannot settle.   
I remember the night of my wedding
She was washing socks at 3 a.m. 
Four decades later, she is fragile. 
Her skin translucent, hair thin and white.
She has a worried look, often, now.
When something funny happens.
We laugh together
With uncontrollable giggles
She takes great gulps of air
As tears run down her cheeks
She laughs—and laughs and laughs
Just as her mother used to do.
We laugh uproariously.
A family trait that I cherish.
Now, she often forgets
What we have agreed upon
Five minutes before. 
It’s time to go.    
I crush her in my arms. 
How does one leave sixty years
With one hug goodbye?

As the car pulls away,
She stands on the front porch
Watching with intense connection.
I know, and she knows,
That my mother is slipping---
As I fly back to America
I hold on to my friend Jo’s words
It’s best not to think about it.