Friday, May 11, 2012
Today is my mother's 65th birthday. She can officially claim social security and medicaid and cash in on all the "great" perks our country has to offer to those who have managed to survive the perils of the standard American diet. I called her today as I drove away from sleeping babies, husband internet searching for camping gear. I wished her happy birthday and we chatted mostly about her abundant garden and what a great father my children have. I love that she loves that. She respects him and our life together and that matters to me. I hope that in a few years we will be in a place where I can take my mom on a great nature-filled vacation. That we can see sights she's always yearned for and that we can walk trails and admire wild life and just be. I've wanted to be able to do that for her for a long time. It being just within reach makes me ache for it every May 11th. Each year makes time seem more fleeting. Parents don't live forever, a fact that is both natural and painful to admit. In June she will drive the infinite roads of Texas to reach us in our little Illinois space. My children will love her and beg for her time and after a day or two she will grow tired from it. Their energy will both bring her joy and make her weary and she will move on to visit others for a day or two. She doesn't land long, but I'm glad she carves time, makes memories, drinks coffee and is content to just be. She is a woman of no pretense, little needs, content to simply be in the same room. Togetherness is simple with her, her silence is silence, no undercurrent. It has taken me thirty years to learn that, to not shrink inside my own insecurity. I am proud of who this woman is. I am proud of who she is able to become in her retired years, the woman she likely always wanted to be but couldn't manage the time, the energy. I love telling friends that she likes her solo life, that her garden is her new family and she grows it beautifully. Unlike some mother-daughter relationships I don't call her for parenting advice or tips on marriage. I "facebook" her random questions about gardening, growing seedlings, collecting rain water. I like this, it suits us. We don't have to talk often, we know the other is there. We know we need each other is different ways, we know things will always be familiar and pick up where they left off. We keep up with the ins and outs of daily life through photojournalistic social media posts and it is sweet and more than enough. Our relationship is quirky and different and not fitting into any mold I may have had and I am just fine with that. Just fine.