I craved childhood this week. Not for me, but for my husband. On Tuesday afternoon, after being blindsided by cancer only six months earlier, his mother passed away. He was with her, holding her hand and telling her she could go, that he and his two younger brothers would be OK. She needed to hear it I think, a mother first and foremost until the end.

He’d spent much of the past two weeks in her bedroom, talking softly to her, holding her hand and stroking her hair, giving her water. He helped ease her out of the world doing the same things that she’d done after bringing him into it.

After she’d gone, the men of the family pulled out boxes and boxes of old family photos, becoming engrossed in better days. The scrawny blond boys in those photos mercifully have no idea what’s coming in too few years. It was all Star Wars and Saturday morning cartoons and bike riding under the south Texas sun, then later, goofy sunglasses and pretty prom dates. I wanted it back for them.

As the week unfolded, my husband and his brothers tackled a long list of sad tasks. They went together and picked out her casket (the three Texas A&M alums swearing it was coincidence that it was a deep maroon — not that the former Hays County Aggie Moms president would have minded). They pulled their wives to them as we fell into tears. They spooned out yogurt and entertained children too young to grasp what was happening. They held their father, knowing when to talk and when not to say anything.

When their mom was taken away, these sons became even stronger men. But I just wished they could slip back into boyhood.

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