Sunday, May 13, 2018

In honor of my mother

This post, from 2009, recounts the last happy Mother's Day I spent with my mom. Following this spring Sunday, she seemed to get more vague, more stubborn, and sicker. Our relationship became harder and harder for me, as I worked hard not to let my frustrations with her and my sisters darken our last years together. That was exhausting for me. I'd rather revisit this than all that. Because this is the mommy I miss.

A Special Lunch for Mommy & Me


Today we celebrated Mother's Day. Because of my mom's recent illness, the day felt especially poignant and meaningful.

She loves, LOVES Barack Obama, often beginning her comments about him with, "Not since JFK … " So I got her the Time Magazine coffee table book about his campaign and inauguration, and her very own Barack Obama action figure. I also gave her a Subway gift card so she can treat my niece and nephew to lunch next time they come over. (Subway is several blocks up the street, so it will be good exercise for my mom and healthy for the kids.)

Then we went to a special Mother's Day brunch. It was fancier than her usual lunch haunts, with free mimosas for both of us (I drank hers while she had decaf) and a pair of complementary roses for her. She went up to the buffet twice -- taking pork and dumplings the first trip and salmon and salad the second time. For dessert, we both had strawberry shortcake. It was great to see her eat and eat AND EAT!!! (My sister's family took her out to dinner yesterday, too!)

We talked a lot. When she was really sick and kind of out of it, she referred to everyone's pet (hers, mine, my sister's, my uncle's) by the name of her girlhood cat. She didn't remember doing that, but it didn't surprise her. She explained how much that cat meant to her, and why. I also heard tales about the other pets she and my uncle had while growing up.

Then we talked frankly about her illness. She has COPD and emphysema. She gets it now. She will always have to take special care of herself now, from here on out. Every day. It doesn't have to stop her from doing things she wants to do, but she will have to change her day-to-day life. She explained that she was in denial at first. She thought that if she resisted what the doctors told her, she wouldn't be letting her condition get to her. She realizes now it was crazy, but she was being honest and I appreciate that. It explains so much about her frustrating behavior after she came home from the hospital.

Most of all, she promised that we would do this again next year. That was her wonderful gift to me, even though Mother's Day is her day.

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