A Tribute to Kara Benton
I met Kara over 20 years ago. I was taking summer school classes at the local “Harvard on the Highway” AKA community college and, for anyone who remotely knows me; I was running late as usual. I get to class, breaming with the confidence (arrogance) of a 20 something-year-old. Scanning the rooms to choose my seat, most everyone, clearly more responsible than me, had already arrived to class leaving me with few options. There was a seat near the front of the room, where all those brainy nerds tend to gravitate towards and, more importantly, where the teacher tends to focus their attention on and there was one seat left in the back corner of the room. This is a choice location, one where I could probably get away with the least amount of work. Easy money and past experience tells me that the back of the room is where I’m destined and I should move quickly before some other late arriving slacker claims my spot. Before I can move to my location, something catches my eye. The empty spot near the dreaded front of the classroom has something next to it that the security of the desk in the back doesn’t, it has the prettiest girl in the class and like the dummy I am, I make my move towards her.
To keep this remix of “How I Met Your Mother” brief, the short of it is that after two magical years of dating, with some ups and downs, but mostly ups, Kara and I jumped the broom and moved to Germany thanks to my job. Germany was absolutely amazing, the experience of living in another culture and being, literally, another continent away from family helped to make our marriage stronger. It forced us to communicate because we didn’t have, or rather couldn’t afford, the option of running home when things got hectic. To humblebrag, Germany made us better at marriage than most of the cats in our age group so all this goes to paint the picture of how royally I screwed up the first few years of marriage.
Kara and I spent three years in Germany and during that time our first child, a son named Lion, was born in August. There was a time in my life when I was teetering on becoming agnostic, but any doubt about God’s existence was extinguished when I held my son for the first time. He was perfection and I couldn’t believe that I had a 50% hand in creating this tiny human being. As any parent knows, having a child is life-changing and NOTHING can prepare you for it except by having a child. Flash forward 9 months and we are now in May, here’s where things get good. I go to surprise my wife at her job and I as leave her classroom, her superpower is that she’s a teacher, I make my way out to the front where the secretary reminds me that Mother’s Day is this weekend and don’t forget. I’m totally confused by this exchange and I politely smile and say ok.
Sunday comes around and like the dutiful son that I am, I call my moms to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day. I’m feeling proud of myself, despite the long distance, international charges I’m racking I made sure to call my mother and I didn’t need the secretary to remind me. The day ends and Kara, my amazing wife looks at me with disappointment and after prying it out of her on why she looks upset to my utter surprise she says it’s because I didn’t wish her a Happy Mother’s Day. I look at my wife, the woman who took the leap of faith me, left just about everything she knew behind her to move with me to a foreign land, the absolute superstar who was in labor for 24 hours, who had to have an emergency C-section to save the life of the child that changed me from doubting God’s existence to full-blown supporter and I said “You’re not my mother." After some direct education from my wife, who to her credit, remained my wife, she taught me the true value of Mother’s Day.
Mother’s Day isn’t just about your mother; it’s a celebration of all the moms out there who do amazing things that often go unsung. It’s about the moms who take time out there schedule to see their kid’s school play; it’s about the mothers who ensure there is a safe place for her children to go home to. It’s about the mother’s, who despite being hurt and disappointed, explain the importance of wishing the moms of the world Happy Mother’s Day when the kids aren’t old enough to do it so that one day they can learn from their father’s the proper way to honor and respect them. To all the mother’s out there, Happy Mother’s Day.
P.S. For those of you who may be interested, the very next year I made sure I was the first person to wish Kara a Happy Mother’s Day, by walking her up at midnight. That also didn’t go over well…