I’m sitting in the sunroom with Mom, who is visiting for a few weeks (months?) It started snowing earlier today, and I think Mom has only left the sunroom for trips to the bathroom. The rest of the time, she is on the couch, a nice soft cozy throw on her lap, watching the snow.
We have a panoramic view of the mountains, and never tire of watching the clouds, light and beautiful sky. And then there are the birds. We had birdfeeders out for her first trip. She has been enjoying the addition of the bird bath. Well, it’s a bird bath but also a water feature for watering the birds. It was one of the first things we bought after we got settled into the house
We now have flocks of birds in our backyard. And my Mom enjoys every minute of it.
She is fascinated by the birds. I’ve shown her how to look them up in Steve’s bird book. She has a set of binoculars on the table beside her. I have to laugh every time I see her peering through the binoculars at the birds. I don’t think she had ever looked through binoculars until her first trip out here. I had to show her how to adjust the focus. Now the binoculars are the first thing she looks for when she comes into the sunroom. She has a new hobby at age 85. How cool is that?
I enjoy watching her. I enjoy having this time with my Mom. She sits at the bar and talks when I cook, we chat over chai lattes in the sunroom. We talk about everything from her life in the Navy with my dad to how Keely is doing at her new school.
Everyone loves my mom. They always have. I remember getting totally ticked off at Chandra, my best friend in high school; because she spent hours talking to my mom rather than doing whatever it was that I wanted to do. Old boyfriends still ask about her, as do former coworkers and anyone else that ever came in contact with her.
Marie, my good friend and yoga instructor, came over for dinner Saturday night. It was a girl’s night, as Steve was out of town. We sat for hours laughing and talking. And Mom told her stories.
I took my friend Lisa to yoga on Friday; we stopped by the house after so she could meet my mom. She ended up staying for over an hour, laughing at the stories that Mom kept coming up with. The next day, going to yoga again, she raved about how funny and energetic my mom is. She told me she could see where I got my energy and humor.
I take that as a compliment. I don’t know if I would have felt that way twenty years ago, but I do now.
I realize that I’ve always been totally confident when introducing mom to anyone, knowing that they would like her. Now, that may not sound like much, but think about it. Can you say that about everyone you know, or are related to? Probably not. I couldn’t say that about ….well, lots of people.
She smiles. She tells funny stories with a self-deprecating humor. She’s smart, likes to read, and keeps up with the news. She has absolutely no sense of direction, and can get lost in a convenience store. She loves, but you do not want to cross her. I’ve been on the receiving end of a few “Let me tell you something Missy” kind of conversations and I didn’t like it a bit. I know that she loves me and would fight to the death for me.
We lost Dad last year. She is aware of the passage of time, as am I. We’ve talked about the songs she wants played at her funeral, I’ve told her I expect her to live to 100 but I’ll make a note about them anyway.
But then there are the stories.
We do realize that there will be a funeral in the future. She started listing all the stories she wants me to tell at her service, asking that I write them down. Now there is no way in hell I’m going to be able to get up at a service and tell Mom’s stories without choking up. But those stories are important. They tell the history of my family, my parents’ marriage, my childhood as well as that of my siblings. I know there is no way I could tell them as well as she can. So what we are going to do is video Mom. I’m going to dig out the video camera and start following her around, capturing the sparkle and smile as she tells her stories.
As she would say, “straight from the horse’s mouth”.