Mamacita says: My mother is 83 years old. I call her every day, and invite her to dinner at least twice a week; she takes the leftovers home and has them for lunch the next day. I always call her before I go to the grocery store, but usually she’s already been. She’s always on the lookout for a sale on Ghiardelli chocolates; a drawer of her hutch is reserved just for them.
I love my mother with the fierce passion reserved for a daughter and mother; no other relationship equals or rivals it. It’s unique. My mother is not perfect, but I don’t know any perfect people; do you? Mom has a better social life than anyone else I know. Almost every day is full. She volunteers. She works at the local museum. She’s good with money, so she’s the treasurer of several clubs she belongs to. She plays euchre once a week with the same ladies she graduated from high school with; they’ve met regularly for Club since 1949. Sometimes I sub for someone, and these ladies are a riot. Most of them are the mothers of people I know, and if I ever do get around to writing that book, these ladies will definitely take over a chapter. Who woulda thought people’s moms would talk and carry on like that? I mean, these are the moms of people I know! Moms don’t do that. Not that generation of moms. And yet, they do. There used to be four tables of euchre players, but their numbers are diminishing much too rapidly and now there are only two, and sometimes one.
Mom also hangs out with friends several nights a week; they play board games, go to restaurants, wear red hats and purple cardigans and huge funky red and purple earrings, and have a wonderful time. She tells me about her adventures when I call her, or go over there.
Why do I call her every day? Because I love her, and because she’s 83 years old, and because the day will come when I would cut off my right arm just to hear her voice, and I am not waiting until it’s too late to want to hear her voice. I love hearing her voice.
My mother is hilarious. She’s addicted to Big Bang Theory and Murder She Wrote. She owns all the DVD’s and can watch them any time and does, but she still watches both series on TV as well. She does not like Big Bang’s Leonard, though. Hates that guy. He’s too meek and she doesn’t like his wussy mannerisms. Unquote.
If the church doors are unlocked, Mom is in the building, either volunteering or sitting in her favorite pew with friends. She worries about my long drives to school. She misses her other kids who don’t live nearby. She has never forgotten my birthday; after all, she was there, as she likes to remind me.
Almost every time I go over to her house, she gives me a sentimental keepsake. “The other kids will be jealous,” I tell her. “Then they need to visit more often; they’d get stuff, too,” she’ll say.
When we were all growing up, our house was always cluttered; it was a tiny house, stuffed full of six people and all their stuff. Three sisters shared one very small bedroom that contained a set of bunk beds and a mattress that was pushed back under the bottom bunk in the morning. We called it our trundle bed – just like Laura and Mary had! – but it was just a mattress and it was just a tiny room and we were all just rationalizing. But it was okay. We didn’t know any better.
Now Mom’s house is tidy and beautiful. I like going over there; all the things she had when we were growing up are still there, mingling with the “new” stuff she bought after Dad died and she moved into this house.
Mom has always been beautiful and she still is. Her children are still the most important things in her life, but her grandchildren and two lovely little great-granddaughters are up there pretty high, too.
I know I am really lucky to live so near my mother. I don’t know what I would have done without her when my kids were little. Mothering did not come naturally to me; I had to learn it from books and from sad experience. (My apologies for so many things, Sara and Andy!) Mom would come over and show me how. Sometimes she laughed, but so did I. I was in the slow class when it came to taking care of babies, but I caught on after a while. I was never as nurturing as my sister Teresa – she was a natural – but I did okay. My kids are still alive, and they seem really happy and contented with their lives, so I must not have done too bad a job. I love it that my kids are so nerdy, although I don’t think my siblings quite understand. That’s okay; none of the four of us is even remotely alike and I don’t think any of us understood any of the others. I love them all anyway.
It would be wonderful if my children thought as highly of me as I do of my mother, but sometimes I think they think more highly of her than they do of me. I can’t blame them for that. I think so highly of my mother that I really don’t think my respect could go any higher.
It’s easy to take a parent for granted, whether we live nearby or far away, but I think it’s really important for those of us fortunate enough to still have a living parent to stay in contact, to call, to visit, as much as possible.
There will be plenty of time to stay home soon enough.