R Angel

R Angel helping Zoe and Royce read their new book
R Angel helping Zoe and Royce read their new book

Today’s a really great day, and not just because of our birth mothers (though I’m particularly appreciative of my mom and my wife) but also because of all the other great literal or metaphorical mothers out across the world–there are some of you who have done as much as any other mother, but for kids otherwise not your own.

And late this morning we had brunch with just one of those people.

Her name is “R”, at least that’s what she tells us everybody calls her. And somehow around the house we started describing her as “our Angel”, so I suppose her official name given by the Raz clan is “R Angel.”

How we met is an odd occurrence.

In the Northwest we got a nasty winter blast back in December, it really pounded on us. I think we might’ve gotten up to 15 inches in one day, on top of other accumulation days before. Many establishments were closed but I threw chains on each wheel on the Landcruiser and we were off and running around town having fun and running a few errands (really, it was an excuse for me to get to drive around in crazy weather w/ chains–Erica and the girls just humored me).

It was about 6:30pm, dreary dark with snow continuing to pound down. At this point any semblance of a sidewalk has been buried in a massive snowbank. The streets themselves are packed with fresh snow underscored by ice, cars are slipping and sliding everywhere. People with SUV’s (without chains) are having a difficult time driving.

And as I’m driving up to Pacific Avenue I see in the faint distance what looks to be a woman hunched over, wearing all dark clothes, with a walker making a slow attempt to cross a very busy street. Slowly, ohhhh so slowly, she’s making her way across with cars sliding everywhere, with her walker she’s somehow trying to dredge through over mounds of snow, and she’s crossing in the middle of a four laned street (NOT at an intersection or crosswalk).

As I’m driving closer, I’m still squinting and can’t believe what I’m seeing–then the words that came out of my mouth were something like…


So I stopped in the street blocking two lanes of traffic and went out and helped her across. I was half in shock and half in humor what with the oddity of the situation and all. She was probably about 80-years old, slowly got across with me, said to me gently “Thank you dear, you’re a sweetheart–isn’t this amazing weather, and so beautiful!” and then went on her way.

But as I was walking away I couldn’t leave, it was like something kept nagging at me. So I turned back and asked her “How’d you even get here?”

“The bus” she replied while still walking, ever so slowly, to the shopping center while stumbling and and finagling around with snow, her bags, the walker, and a hunched back.

“Well, how are you getting home?” I asked back.

“The bus”, as she smiled.

So I walked over and said, “My friend, buses aren’t even running anymore; we’ll take you home. You can’t try to get home on your own.”

The point of how we met is something I’ll reference back to.

So over the past four months we’ve gotten to know R, what started as a quirky introduction led to her being a bit of an adopted Grandmother (which is great because we don’t have any relatives nearby).

Today for Mother’s Day we took “R Angel” out to brunch; Royce and Zoe made pictures and crafts for her, and we talked. When we arrived she was dressed so nicely, and she spoke softly with her Audrey Hepburn-like voice that waved and waned, and it was clear that though her body might not have been keeping up her mind had carried well. 

And over our food she spent a lot of time talking with, and reading to, the girls. And as we asked she told us stories about her husband, to whom she’s been married 52 years and is living his final days in a nursing home near her house. And, even though he no longer remembers her name, I learned something through how she talked about him with such great love and compassion.

And when it came time to talk about her kids, we learned that all three of their children has already passed away through a series of tragedies which threw a knot into my throat–yet in this sadness, I also learned a lesson from her, as she also told us with such sincerity about how blessed and fortunate she was.

And, finally, when we dropped her off today, I realized that when we stopped to help her back in the wild winter months I thought we were doing her a favor. And, as is always the case with Mother’s, she was the one that ultimately did us a favor. Through the gift of her relationship, showing compassion, and giving us light into a positive perspective–which is something that, at times, only Mom’s can do. 

Happy Mother’s Day, to all those of you who have done so much in so many different ways to make an impact on our lives. 


Royce, Erica, and Zoe on Mother's Day
Royce, Erica, and Zoe on Mother's Day

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