Time for Mom

For every decision we make, there are consequences.  Some are great outcomes, some less optimal.  Moving back to Duluth has certainly weighed heavily on the side of positives.  Easy access to the outdoors and the active pursuits we so enjoy.  A simpler life in a smaller city with less traffic and smaller distances.  The beauty of the Northland.  And that big old lake out there.  It’s a wonderful place to live.

But I left behind my family.  Two of my three children still live in the Twin Cities, and it is now home to my three grandchildren.  Gone are the days when I could spontaneously request, “Can I have a Grammy day tomorrow?” and spend time with those precious little ones.  Shopping trips with my daughter and Brueggers bagel mornings with my son have to be sandwiched into our visits to the Cities.  Truth be told, they all love coming to Duluth, but it’s just not the same as living around the corner.

And so as Mother’s Day approached I found myself quietly wallowing in self-pity.  I would be here, and they would be there.  Phone calls would be exchanged.  I’d get caught up on the latest.  But I couldn’t give them a hug.

Even as I headed out for an early morning bike ride, the feeling still nagged.  Not even the cold crisp air, the long slant of the rising sun, and the stillness of Lake Superior could rid me of that longing.  I missed my kids.

Mothers-Day-Molly trimmedSo imagine my surprise, as I emerged from the shower, dressed for church and stepped into the great room – to be met by Karen and Erik!  There they were in the flesh, as if I had conjured them up out of sheer yearning.  They fulfilled my every desire and my heart overflowed.  Had Carl lived within reasonable distance, my trio would have been complete.  But two out of three was a perfect score at that moment in time.

The next four and a half hours were filled with the simple joys of life.  Lingering over coffee and sitting outside in the sun.  Walking down to Brighton Beach to throw rocks in the lake and feel the chill of the breeze off the water.  Talking, sharing, visiting.  Just being together. Photo May 08, 10 15 56 AMPhoto May 08, 1 10 08 PMThe gift of time.  It’s the prefect fit.  It takes up no space, doesn’t require dusting and yet remains forever as a memory.  It was just what I wanted, even without asking for it.  Thank you, kids. For making time for Mom.

In Memory of Mom

This Mothers’ Day has a new twist for me. It’s my first without my own mother. For the first time I will not be seeking out just the right card and gift for Mom on Mothers’ Day. I won’t be stopping by her house to give her a hug and stay for a visit. Even though Alzheimer’s stole Mom’s memory over time, it was still important to mark the day and look for some way to brighten her life. She was still my mom. And she will always be my role model.

Mom was my best cheerleader. There was nothing she thought I couldn’t do. When I took up running, she was the one to let me know that Grandma’s Marathon was starting up a half-marathon. Of course she knew I could do it. No question. And she was there on the course year after year for the full marathons that followed. Two years ago was the first time she missed, and I found it hard to breath as I passed “her” corner.

Mom was there at all my concerts, my recitals, the talent shows. No matter what the event, she was there. When I had kids, she came for their plays, their concerts, their graduations.

Mom taught me to sew like a pro. We matched plaids so well you couldn’t tell there was a seam. When I asked her to make a dress for my daughter’s American Girl Doll (named Molly, of course!), she bought the pattern and made every single outfit! When it came time to prune my closets in preparation for moving, I admit to squirreling away a few treasures that she made for me. I may never again wear the lace-inserted blouse she made, but it was too special to let go.

I wrote to Mom every week. She loved reading my letters. And when she could no longer read them, her caregivers read them to her. Mom always encouraged me in my writing. It’s because of her that I started up this blog – to pursue writing and see where it can take me.

Happy Mothers’ Day, Mom. I miss you.

The Gift of Time

Mothers’ Day is still nearly a week away, but I already have my Mothers’ Day presents – time with each of my children.  It was just coincidence that it happened this way, but it was a lovely confluence of events.  At this point in my life, there is nothing more meaningful than spending time with people and creating memories.   And I just stored up a week’s worth of the best of both.

It started with my middle son, Carl.  Despite having moved to DC and started a new job, the arrival of a new niece was reason enough for him to make a special trip home.  So a week ago, he inhabited our extra bedroom once again, and we spent a weekend hanging out as a family and doing some of our favorite activities together – enjoying a meal, going out for coffee after church, playing cards and of course cuddling the new arrival and playing with 2 year old Ben.  It was a low key and relaxing weekend, with time enough to talk and just be.

Immediately afterwards, my daughter, Karen, and I spent three days together in Duluth.  We took advantage of her being home on maternity leave for some special time together, along with the grand-kids.  Just tending to the kids took most of our time – how quickly one forgets just how all consuming that can be!  But it was joyful time with the freedom from other tasks on our plates, with plenty of opportunity to talk and share.  The weather even obliged by gifting us with a beautiful day to sit at the water’s edge at Brighton Beach and throw the endless supply of rocks into the lake.

My next visit required a bit of travel.  Armed with audio books and podcasts, I made the drive out to Indiana for Moms’ Weekend with my youngest son, Erik, at Rose-Hulman.  Even though I knew we’d be back in less than three weeks for graduation, I wanted this last Mom’s time with him.  He got up early to share the decadent B&B breakfasts with me, we went for a long bike ride and rewarded ourselves at Dairy Queen, and he demonstrated the robot he programmed for his Senior Design project.  Walks in the park and seeing the college production of Phantom of the Opera rounded out our weekend.

It is such a blessing to have adult children with whom it is such a pleasure to spend time.  I am a very lucky Mom.