I can feel the stress echo off his body as his hand cradles the phone. The knot grows in his stomach. Honestly, he doesn’t care either way. He just desperately wants both women to be happy. He will be lucky if he gets through this with both at least mostly placated. He knows he has it easier than some men. The thousands of miles that separate him from his parents keep these occurrences to a minimum. But, on the other hand, the occurrences are of hurricane proportion when they do occur.

Honestly, they are both great women. It would be so much easier if he didn’t like one of them. His heart is torn in two. On one hand is his precious Mama who gave him life. And not just the physical life – she gave him a great childhood. While she was a no-nonsense kind of mom – he never doubted her love for him. She served him and his three brothers selflessly – always putting others needs before her own. Often to the determent of her emotional strength. Then Dad would have to step in and rope the boys into giving her some much needed relief – for a few hours – until the testostronians were again back to doing what they did best and Mom was left holding the bag.

Then there was his wife. His precious wife. His life was so tightly intertwined into hers, he could never imagine life without her. He knew she loved him to the core. He loved having a best friend he could confide in – still loving to spend time with her after a quarter of a century.

Both women were strong women. Which in and of itself is usually a good thing. Strong women get things done. Strong women are great homekeepers and moms. Strong women also like things done their way. long as both women were on the same page -or on separate continents – life was good. But, those rare occasions when they both had ideas and the ideas were polar opposites – well, this was one of those moments.

There was only one other in over 25 years and that was 5 years ago when his mom wanted a 40 year anniversary party thrown for her and dad at the children’s expense. It required a weeks vacation and travel to Tennessee. His wife was a nightmare throughout the whole ordeal. He gets chest pains even rethinking the event and the weeks proceeding up to it. His wife didn’t want to go and she was very vocal about it. His mom wanted it to happen and she was very vocal about it. Why, why couldn’t one of them compromise? In the end he had to put on a smile for the family and try and console his wife behind the closed doors. It was so stressful. All he wanted was for everyone to get along. Why couldn’t one of them put aside their wishes for one week?

Now it’s the 45th anniversary for his parents. And they want the family to fly to Germany. His wife is trying to be more patient and flexible. His mom – not so much. She has certain things that are important to her and she isn’t taking into account the effort or sacrifice they will cause. The one that is causing the tight grip on the phone at the moment is the revelation that she wants them to stay at the house while they are in Germany. He has already told her the family is planning to stay for a couple of days and then travel around Europe and then return for a few days before they leave. She is also insisting the whole family come at the same time – which may or may not be possible. She isn’t happy with anything less -and waiting until Christmas isn’t an option either.

Now – he is forced with the decision of telling his mom is isn’t going to work the way she wants – or going back to the drawing board with his wife. Which, may or may not be a good idea. Sometimes she is so hard to figure out. If only she had a flashing light above her head – green means go and red means stop. It would be most helpful. He can only hope this is a pre-menopausal thing and once she gets through it life will be easier. Where can he get one of those lights? If it were green, she would listen to his concerns about his mom’s wishes and possibly come up with a compromise or solution. However, if it is red she will either cry or yell and ramble on and on about how awful life is. He will have to distance himself from her rantings enough to stay calm and try and calm her down.

He gets her point. He really does. But, in the end – this is his mom. Doesn’t she see that? For no one else would he make or ask her to make these sacrifices. His mom is talking about not being on this earth much longer – which may or may not be true. Does he really want to not make the memories special for her? Will she have a 50th anniversary? She might. Or, she might not. Carpe diem.