Tag: mom

“I’ll Be Fine”

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My mom and I were in the cocoon of our booth at the Hilton Hotel in Altamonte Springs, having a light breakfast and taking a break from driving.  We were en route to the Hard Rock Cafe and Casino in Tampa.  A much deserved break and weekend for us.  Our waitress knew my mom from the last couple of trips to the Senior Softball Camp my dad attended over the last couple of years.  She asked if I was her daughter and we laughed and said I was.  Mom told her she was taking me to the Hard Rock Casino, just the two of us.  Our waitress smiled a little sad smile and told us how great it was we were going together.  She then told us she missed her mom.  Her mom is 83 and lives in Bosnia.  She had just seen her this last March, and it was hard to leave.  She began to tear up, but recovered and told us that her mom was this little tiny thing, in a small house.  But, she told us that her mom told her that she was old, and all that mattered at this point in her life, was that her kids and their families were ok.  “I’ll be fine” she told her daughter.   Our waitress cleared our table and walked away.  Mom and I shared a look, understanding distance.  Mom had moved from Texas to California as a young mom.  Our’s was the family that always came to visit.  I live across the country from my older children and grandchildren, and my youngest child is practically in the Gulf.  It wasn’t an ocean and continents, but it was long enough.  Each of us had spent countless hours in the air or on the road going back for long visit, or short and sweet visits.  We knew distance.

When our waitress came back, she told us to enjoy our time together.  She said to us, “I have this,” meaning she would get our breakfast.  Then she turned to me and said “Enjoy your mom”, and walked away.

Mom in the Mirror

“Mom in the Mirror”

My mom is from Pleasanton, Texas, a small town south of San Antonio, Texas.  She is one of five sisters and four brothers.  I remember as a child, when we would visit my grandparents, I would go out to the chicken coop with my grandma and get eggs.  The roads leading from the main drag in Pleasanton to their house were dirt for the longest time and my grandparents did not have indoor plumbing until I was a teenager.   My brother and I still talk about that outhouse and how we didn’t want to go out there in the evening, but didn’t want our cousins teasing us that we were afraid to go out there. Another vivid memory, was in the late sixties when we returned from the Philippines, where my Dad was stationed, my mom’s family butchered a pig in the backyard of my grandparents house.  I don’t know why this didn’t seem out of the ordinary…it just wasn’t, it was the way of our family.  

My mom had been a Navy wife during the 50’s when women’s lib had not even hit the news.  But, even as she was a traditional wife, at home mom and homemaker, she took on the responsibility of paying all the bills and handling the household, the car and my brother and I, while my dad was at sea for 10 months at a time.  She drove us from San Diego to my aunt’s apartment in San Francisco in the early sixties so we could visit and go to Candlestick Park to see the Giants play.  My Tia Jane worked for the front office back in those days and we were a baseball family.  My memory of this visit was driving at night through China Town and visiting the Golden Gate Park…not the revered Candlestick Park.

My mom gained confidence from these responsibilities and experiences when my Dad was on deployment and it translated to me.  As a young wife and later, a single mom, I had to rely on this confidence to thrive in a workforce that was not tolerant of single moms.  I always thought I was so unlike her, she is petite, cool and collected…I am plus sized, emotional and demonstrative…but as I got older and had kids, I learned we had more in common than I realized…she instilled in me the value of education, whether formal or self-taught; to pay attention to the world around you, appreciate sports and politics and find a faith that speaks to you.  She dresses, to this day, impeccably, and only said to me, “always look your best, because you never who you are going to run into…” and that echoes in my ear when I have looked less than my best when running into one of the kid’s teachers or the principal of their school.  Now, my kids tease me because I am always “overdressed”…but I am old school and make no apologies…it is what it is.

Bottom line is that my mom is my mom, and she is my also my best friend.  She has been through a lot this year worried about me being laid off, about my brother working too hard, her struggle with her own health issues and tragically, losing her younger brother, my Tio Johnny.  Through it all, she has dealt with it as best anyone can…but my mom is strong and will not let you see her sweat.  My mom’s living legacy to me, my children and their children, is that family is everything…through the good, the bad and the ugly, family first…

Mom

My mom is not doing well.  She has had a series of setbacks in her health, nothing life threatening, but strung together, it has overwhelmed her.  I realize part of her decline is possibly psychological and emotional, however having seen her recently, I found myself panicking.  My mom has never looked her age.  She always was mistaken as my sister for years.  She has always exercised and walked.  Now, at seventy-six, and after a fall that broke fingers in both hands, I realize that she has aged.  She seemed so vulnerable and fragile, that I wondered if she would beat this, like she did the artery blockage at forty-four and the angioplasty at seventy.

When she was in her forties and into her fifties she would leave me breathless on the wide walkway at Mission Bay Park, or the inclines of Scripps Ranch.  It was only in the last ten years, I could out-walk her…pathetic.  This last weekend, she clung to me as we made out way through Books a Million to the day spa where we had manis and pedis for the first time since I was a teenager.  Why, was I thinking, did we wait so long for this?  She never went to a manicurist and neither did I until I was in my thirties.  I went with my daughters, but not my mom.

 As we sat in the spa chairs and chatted, I allowed the twinge of guilt to surface, of allowing time to pass us by.  Then I reminded myself of all the other times, the other loves we shared…shopping (mostly window shopping), lunches and coffee dates, watching baseball games, traveling to Savannah for a day trip, St. Augustine to tour the historic areas, a recent road trip to visit my aunt in Mississippi…she was stronger then.

Coming home to Evans Ridge I realize I have entered a new phase as a daughter.  My mom is aging, as am I…but until last weekend, she drove her car, she could handle a knife, she could put in her hearing aid, she could saunter around the house teasing my dad and making us shake our heads…I know in my heart, she will get stronger, I realize this is a preview of what is around the corner.  It is a part of this magic we call our lifetime…