Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Mother

I'll be leaving here in about an hour, driving west to celebrate The Mother's birthday. She's not to be confused with the Other Mother who lives under my roof.

The Mother turned 82 today and she's struggling with some of the effects of age. I tell my mom again and again that if you are going to live to a ripe old age, there's a price to pay. Of course, in life there's a price to be paid for everything.

Here she is, a very young mom, shortly after the end of World War II.

Her and my dad were taking me down to Florida to show me off to my dad's family. This is actually the first of many, many family vacations spent with relatives. Back in the day there was no money for hotels, spas trips to Mexico. Staying with family was the norm.

My mom was so talented and creative when we were growing up. All the teachers wanted us in their classroom because they knew it meant really, really great teacher gifts. She learned to sew like a pro, saving tons of money by constructing beautiful clothing for us.

One time she said to me, "Oh, you're so talented. Look at the beautiful things you've sewn." She said this with an air of envy, as if she had no idea where that skill might have come from.

I looked at her, incredulous.

"Mom, do you not remember the beautiful things you made, including wool dress coats with velvet collars? You know, Rothschild-type coats."

But the truth is that sometimes she does not remember. In a way that is sad but it's also reality and one thing I learned in therapy is that the more you rail against and deny reality, the more miserable you will be.

The Moody Blues have a line in one of their songs:


What that means to me is to embrace what is coming. Make friends with it. Do what you can to make the impact of negative things a soft landing instead of a slap in the face. The sooner you come to terms with your reality, the sooner you will adjust and get on with life.

One day I took my mother to lunch. She had really been struggling with some recent events that had left her off-kilter. I said, "Mom, there's good news and there's bad news. The good news is we're living longer. The bad news is, we're living longer."

She laughed and got my point.

Today we'll celebrate over lunch at her favorite place for hamburgers, Red Robin. We'll talk and laugh, remember old times and plan for the future.

Happy Birthday Mom!!


Becky said...

Enjoy a special day with your Mom...and hope she is in "fine form" for the visit!

Farmchick said...

Happy Birthday to your mom.

KathyKateKatrinkaKayMissKitty said...

I'm sure it's not easy to watch your mom "decline" with age sometimes, but I often regret that I never got the chance to watch my mom turn into an old woman. It would have been quite a trip, I bet.

libby said...

You are such a wonderful daughter y'know.... I just know that you will hug her and give her a kiss and enjoy spending some time with her...have a happy birthday farmers wife mother! Just recently my mom had her eightieth birthday and I posted a picture of how lucky I was to have her here to kiss...she looks so happy in it too and it does'nt matter that there is forgetfulness or ears that don't always work or questions asked over and over again..sometimes there is laughter and smiling and shared memories..we are blessed to have family....have a good time.

Kelli said...

Enjoy your special day with your mom! You are one lucky lady!


Stickhorsecowgirls said...

Lots of wisdom here--yes,in acceptance lies peace - my favorite quote by Elisabeth Elliot.
Hope you and your mom have a lovely day!

Kat said...

My Grandma, for whom I do quite a bit of care, has learned to say "whatever!"
It cracks me up every time, but it's her new and well-embraced philosophy in life.

Her: When did they put this road in?
Me: About 1974.
Her: Really?
Me: Yep!
Her: Whatever! It's very nice though, isn't it?
Me: Sure is.

I love my Grandma.

MelissaD said...

Enjoy the day with your Mom! Especially enjoy that she is still around for you to spend time with - both good and sad - life IS about the journey itself.
My mom passed away unexpectedly when I was in my 30's and I still miss her every day almost 20 years later. I often wonder how it would be to be with her as she aged :)

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

Great post...are those matching shirts in that wonderful picture? And, yes, I remember "family" vacations. My California relatives (my, I thought they were sophisticated) used to stay with us most summers, sometimes for two weeks. Loved it!

I share your thoughts on aging...not for the faint of heart. C

Mom Taxi Julie said...

My mother in law just turned 80 and my father in law 81. They've really slowed down the last few years. Almost scary slowed down. She's been plagued with health problems this year and struggles to keep her weight up (she's trying to get back up to 100 pounds). It's really sad to see them regress.