The idea of Mother's Day and our boys Dee and Ryo came to mind. Neither has a mother, for two absolutely opposite reasons, so how do they handle such a public holiday?

It was Mother's Day Weekend. Even though it lessened a small bit each year the ache in Ryo's heart was still there, and still strong. Every year he took time to remember the good times they had experienced, those special moments that made the best memories to help offset the sadness. He didn't hate the holiday even though it always reminded him of the loss; it just that it brought back the deep grief for a short while, and it was very difficult to ignore.

Ryo sat in the food court of a small mall, nursing a quickly cooling cup of coffee while waiting for Dee to arrive. Dee had finished his shift an hour ago and they had agreed to meet here before they headed to the orphanage. Ryo had finished his shopping and knew that Dee had already gotten what he needed.

The coffee was an excuse to pass the time, but as he sat and waited he started to notice the other patrons in the mall. Today there were a few more men shopping than normal, and many with their children bouncing by their sides. He heard their laughter and pleading comments as they dragged their fathers into shops they normally didn't frequent. Some carried bags with recent purchases that were too heavy for the children to carry, while others kept an eye on their small child precariously carrying a precious bag that bordered on huge for them, making sure it wasn't dropped.

There were some older children shopping on their own, but with the same intense searching as the younger ones. Some were alone, mostly the boys, while others were in groups, either siblings or good friends. Again, almost all carried something purchased, small or large, bagged or boxed.

Ryo smiled. He remembered a few of his trips to the local department store as a child, holding his father's hand as they searched for the perfect gift. They never just got the first thing they saw. They would make a mental list of all the good things they saw, and then they would go have lunch and discuss which would be the best item to buy. The last few years he had gone alone, but the process was still the same; look, lunch, then buy.

Glancing at the bag on the table next to him he realized that he had done the same thing this time. It made him feel good inside, knowing that he had taken the same care for this purchase has he had for all those from past years.

Ryo jumped when he felt the hand on his shoulder. While he was deep in thought Dee had arrived and seated himself beside Ryo.
"Sorry. I didn't mean to startle you. What were you thinking about to be in that deep a trance?"

Ryo turned toward Dee. "I was watching the kids with their fathers, buying gifts for Mother's Day. It brought back a few memories for me."

"I guess your memories would be different than mine. At the orphanage we never had money to buy Mother a gift – we made them out of scraps, like painting tuna cans to make a small potted flower." Dee snickered. "We usually stole the plant out of someone's garden or a local park. Others of us that were good at begging would go out and panhandle for a few bucks to buy something special for her, like a lace handkerchief or a small bottle of cologne. Other than the plants we never stole though. She always knew when we stole something and she'd make us take it back, though she did give us some slack with the plants."

Ryo studied Dee as he spoke. This man should hate the holiday. His mother had left him to die in an alley, but yet he had turned his affection to Mother Lane. And that affection had grown to be something more than equal to a maternal love. He had never heard a bad word from Dee about his biological mother, ever. Ryo had never broached the subject out of respect for Dee's feelings, but somehow he felt that there were no ill feelings, that there were no feelings at all for that person. He knew if he asked about his true mother that Dee would respond that Mother Lane was his mother, period.

Ryo asked, "So what did you get for her, other than the dozen red roses? I got her several boxes of her favorite tea. I know she'll use it. What she has she uses very sparingly so now she can have it whenever she wants. And a bottle of the Rose lotion she uses. I noticed the last time we were there that the bottle was getting low."

"We both thought on the same lines. I got her a few boxes of the bubble bath crystals she uses. She hates to spend money on them since they are a frivolous luxury, but she really enjoys them. And I added something special this year." Reaching into a small paper bag he pulled out a small marigold plant in a painted tin, wrapped in cellophane, and tied with a ribbon bow. "You aren't the only one who reminisces this time of year. Let's go surprise our Mom."

"And where did you steal the plant?"

Dee just grinned. Tomorrow he would show Ryo the now blank space in the small garden in front of Police One.