Mother Returns


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My mom comes home today.  She is on her first plane right now.  My “to do list” today includes picking her up at the airport with my son along, to carry things.  He is the man of our house, at only fourteen.  He is the only male in the house and has grown into that role as the years have gone by.  My mother lived with us prior to divorce.  We now live with her after divorce, on the same lake, thanks to her.

She became a widow when I was twenty and I returned home to be with her after college.  I was living in Los Angeles working after graduation in television.   It was an exciting time in my life and all the while home called me to come back and when the Northridge Earthquake hit I heeded the call.

I never regretted the decision and being with my mom and my family made it worth it.  When I got sick this past year, really sick, I was worried what would happen to her.  She did not deserve to lose me after giving up her life to be our mother and then losing her husband to suicide, no one deserves that.  She carried on through all of it, with her Chico’s outfits and lifelong friendships.  Our mother is one of the most loyal people I know.  She commits to something and does not falter.

She has a schedule that revolves around her community weight loss group that meets on Tuesday nights and travels to conferences.  It is super cute and consumes most of her topics of conversation.  What she is bringing to a meeting or where they are traveling.  She goes with her lifelong friend and winter traveling buddy.

My son and I crack up as they go out to eat each Tuesday after their weight loss meeting.  She brings him home leftovers and supplies from town (toilet paper being the important one).  She shares the night’s stories of what is happening over in town.  She is not a gossip, just a concerned fellow member.  She always sees the best in people and is happy for their good news.  She tells the bad, only to inform, not to belittle anyone.

When she travels for the winter I do not speak to her that often.  I consider it her break from us and our busy lives.  My goal is for her to separate and have her own space for those months, especially this year, after what I put her through.  Our running joke at the house is to keep ourselves in toilet paper while she is gone, as each year we run out at least once, without her Tuesday supply runs to town.

Her friend left early this year from Sanibel so I called her more as the time to come home approached and woke up several times tonight thinking about her coming home.  I usually drive her car back and last year we drove together.  We had a ball and she complained the entire way reading a draft of my book through the Blue Ridge Mountains as we left Charleston toward Virginia.  It was another “Chris” adventure that she went along for the ride.  I would have my stroke a few weeks later.

I am happy she will be home with me able to take care of her, not her take care of me.  Mother’s day is approaching and reading post about folks missing their mom I am excited to get her back.

When I told her about the blog she said, “Chris, do not include me.”  How could I not, when she herself had dreams of being a writer.  She never expressed them to me or acknowledged it when I asked her about the Readers Digest submissions I found in a box in my parents closet years ago.

I tell my students about that box as they need to look at their parents as people who had dreams not always realized.  They may have moved them aside to take care of their family and did other work to provide for them.  My point to them is to take the opportunities to grow in life when they present themselves without the fear of the future, as no future is guaranteed, but one is created by commitment.

When my mom flew home to visit me in December I could not drive.  When she saw me in Sanibel a few weeks ago I was better, but tired, still not able to drive.  I am happy today to pick her up and realize the stroke that started it all was a year ago this May.  She deserves to be the one taken care of now.  I am happy she is coming home and ready for “Nan,” as we call her to recant her winter travel stories as we prepare to head to Baltimore for the graduation of her oldest grandson.  Travel season extends this year with all of us included.

She has a tattered straw cowboy style beach hat that her friend said needs to go.  My mother in her style told us all the places it had traveled with her including: Brazil, Portugal, Puerto Rico, and Greece etc. and the family stories that accompanied each place.  We purchased her a new one for Mother’s Day, but once again she displayed her commitment and love for family, places and special things.  She will always be included and needs to get home.  We are out of toilet paper as of this morning, perfect timing Nan.


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