Mothers Day is coming up and I find myself thinking about my mom and moms in general. In recent years I noticed how my parents have been aging more so than before and how with time they have not been as mobile as they used to be. This has been hard for me to watch. I recall recently while visiting my dad and I went into town and my mom insisted that she would walk to join us later. What was endearing was to see my dad worried about her and to make sure she was ok in walking that far but what struck me the hardest was when we were finally meeting up, seeing her from far away as I could make out her silhouette … it didn’t seem right. It was slightly curved, bent forward almost … walking as if limping … with a purse gripped tightly in her hand. That’s when it struck me … time had been taking its toll and she was no longer the strong, physically enduring woman who commanded attention by all of us growing up. Yes, osteoporosis was setting in and that, compounded with other issues only made me question why I live so far away that I cannot take care of them.
I think back at moments growing up and I recall our disagreements. You have to know that my mom had the ability to throw a shoe at me and even though I may have turned the corner behind a wall the shoe was like a boomerang, it would find me and hit me just the same. Insane! This one time we had a disagreement about me seeing a young lady while I was living in Italy and in the heat of the moment I found myself being chased by her around the dining room table. Now I am eighteen years old and I suddenly had an epiphany, I’m bigger than my mom. She can’t catch me. So I stopped dead in my tracks and I think this threw her off because she froze and as I turned around and looked at her with her hand-held high and a shoe in her right hand, I grabbed both her wrists and held them high as I nudged her backwards and I boldly said “Now you listen to me. I’m bigger than you and you cant do this anymore.” As I kept nudging her back I made sure she fell sitting into a small love seat and she had this perplexed look on her face because she didn’t know how to react to what was happening. Then I grinned and we both started laughing and she then said, “You laugh now but you wait … “ And as I walked away the shoe hit me in the butt. Pretty funny. I smile thinking of these moments.
I realized over the years that she always wanted to make sure as children that we were safe. Even now at my tender age of (lets just say 40+) she still worries about me and wants to make sure I’m ok. I can’t imagine not having her there on the other end of the phone, or to see her on FaceTime or when I get to visit and she gets to be a mom for the few days while I’m there, cooking my favorite foods, cleaning and doing my laundry. Making sure we make time to go for coffee in the piazza. Or go for walks on the boardwalk and visit with relatives. She seems to be putting more effort into being a friend these days than my mom and for that I am grateful. I’m grateful because I know how fragile life can be and in the blink of an eye we are no longer here. I am grateful that I get to visit often and I get to chat with her as often as we like by phone.
It’s funny how life seems to go full circle. We grow up dependent on our parents for survival and the basic needs of life. And as we grow older we want to be independent and not have to rely on mom or dad. We’re eager to prove ourselves that we can do things alone and responsibly (both my parents still question this in my case) and then all we want is their approval and to accept us for what we have become. And then as they get older the tables turn again and things seem to reverse. Now we are the ones asking how they are doing and what they may need. And the parents are now the bold ones being or acting independent and making sure they do not come across as needy. And as they get older, then we start taking care of them and doing more as they did for us growing up. Making sure they go to the doctor and making sure they are provided for and not lacking or wanting for anything. If you are among the fortunate ones as I am to still have your mom with you regardless of how far away she may be, do not wait for Mothers Day to reach out and show her who much you care.
Regardless of what the differences may have been growing up, the day will come when one of us will no longer be here and so what is the last memory and conversation you want to remember with her? Regardless of what it may have been about, hopefully it ended with “I love you mom”
Happy Mother Day.
I dedicate this blog to my mom who I am sure has aged because of me through the years but is always loved and never forgotten and to my Zia Giuseppina who is missed and dearly loved by so many and to my dear friend and colleague Jan, who just lost her mom recently to cancer.