The Dialogue

“Bread and Water can so easily be Toast and Tea”
~Author Unknown~

Happy Birthday Mother!

Recently, I showed my Mother some photographs my niece had posted on Facebook, and I tried to capture my Mother’s comments, about what she saw.  Afterwards, she left my desk area and headed toward her room.  “You know what is good about the girls, they are having fun” my Mother said from her bed, which is perfectly aligned with my desk, and where she had settled in for the evening.  She continued: “They are traveling and enjoying their life while they are young.  Allison went snow shoeing, that has to be a lot of fun; and they are having fun together – they do stuff as couples.”

Okay, I thought, how does Mother know Allison went snow shoeing and why does she remember that?  Or that the girls are doing stuff as couples?  I think perhaps we do not give Mother enough credit for being aware of what goes on around her.

In a few days, Mother will celebrate her 80th birthday!  A very Happy Birthday to you Mother!  Lately, we have been speaking a lot about how we shall mark the occasion.  The only thing she is absolutely adamant about is that she wants a carrot cake.  When my Mother is with me, for her birthday, I always make her a carrot cake. (By the way Linda, it was at your Mother’s that I first had carrot cake – could not imagine vegetables in a cake, but loved her cake.)

Other than the cake, we have settled little; our birthday conversations have mostly lead to reminiscing about her life.  A few days ago, as we sat having our coffee, my Mother stated: “I did everything I wanted to do.  I do not have any regrets.” Hum, I am jealous, as I listen to my Mother’s words.  I am thirty years her junior and I certainly have more than a few regrets; mostly I regret things I did not do, chances I did not take, and adventures I forwent.  She continued:  “I remember the first time I went to Cuba, watching this couple, traveling together.  They were older, and had been married a long time.  I listened to them arguing about their vacation, already on the plane; and decided right there that I never wanted to be like them, I was going to do what I wanted while I was still young and had the energy to travel.”

I waited a couple of days, and asked about the couple again.  She goes into quite a speech about how people waste their life; and how this couple, sitting on a plane, are debating whether or not they can afford their vacation, and what they are going to do once they arrive in Cuba.  Mother says she never wanted anyone to argue with regarding her plans, she wanted to go and do what she wanted, and that is what she did.  Again, she tells me she has no regrets about her life, she lived it the way she wanted.  “Well, I do wish I had more money for you girls, for your education.  I have always said it is not what you know, it is what you can prove you know.  You have to have that piece of paper.”  It is true she has always said that, and when taking a new job, where you have no idea what you are doing, you should say: Well in my old job we did it differently, or we had a different machine – sage advice.

She continues speaking and begins to run down her list of adventures, first and foremost going to Cuba, on her 21st birthday.  We then began listing the many places this girl from Southern Ohio, who had been born into a family of eleven, with little to no means, had managed to see; and all that she had done with her life.

Mother then begins to talk about having friends, she tells me that her sister, Irene, once asked her how she could go off and do the things she did?  Mother answered: “Irene, you have money, but I have friends.”  The conversations continues as Mother names her friends, and her voice drops as she mentions all of those she lost.  But the smile returns as she begins to speak of Africa, and the small brooms the women used, which forced them to hunch over: “I made him go buy his wife a broom.  I told him she had to have a large handle and not be stooped over while she swept.”  She is off, talking about her adventures in Africa and all of the friends she left behind.

She never expected to reach 80 and has trouble imagining that she has many more years left.  There are more hard days than there used to be, she is often tired and no longer really wants to do much; though she did enjoy our outing to the beach – she well remembered our Ft. Lauderdale beach and how we would park, in past years, get a pizza at Primanti’s and head across the street to eat on the sand.

There is much debate about Mother’s comings and goings, and it exhausts us both; but we none the less make plans – there is one trip on her list, maybe two, or perhaps three – “I guess there are a few things I still want to do.”

I tell her Nic and Allison are going to Mexico: “Oh they are going to love it.  I love Mexico.  I remember when Pat and I went to Guadalajara.  We had such a nice time, and stayed in a beautiful hotel.”  Indeed.

Mother has lived a life of adventures; it is hard to lose the physical ability to go – especially when going gives you life.  I so understand this part of her.  She will not make a decision about settling down, and speaks of leaving here to see doctors, but of being back in the autumn.  I believe her.

Happy Birthday Mother, keep going!  That is all for now.

One Response to The Dialogue

  1. ThatIsAllForNow on January 3, 2013 at 1:07 am

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