A friend just asked how mom and I are doing. I thought I'd share my response:
Yep we’re doing good.
Yesterday was one year that I rolled in from Nashville – just before midnight on October 27, 2022 – finding a wide eyed, frantic, stressed woman who opened the door.
Starving (there was plenty of food in the fridge) for nutrients. Starving for contact. For any human interaction. For life itself.
Now she sleeps so soundly sometimes I have to get <1’ from her just to make sure she’s breathing.
I bought her an iPhone and although it took a few months she learned how to text her granddaughter at Stanford, now they text back and forth all the time. She asks about the boyfriend and tells her to take it slow, and that she’s praying for her.
One of my friend’s parents stop by every Tuesday and a new friend from church comes by on Fridays just to play scrabble.
Sarah lives across the street with her sister, and she never just waves, she always comes over and talks. Even if it's just to say hi from closer than across the street.
And the yard decorations are awesome.
We all joke about the neighborhood cat — mostly because he has a cone and mopes around like Eeyore, planting himself at different doorsteps, ours being his choice for some reason much of the time.
His name is Charlie.
I bought her a camping chair light enough she can carry, she takes it outside and gets into the sun while I’m at work.
We watch westerns and tell stories about dad. And she sure laughs a lot.
Long gone are the arguing days of my teenage years, as well as the uncertain days of the past few when her husband (at ten years older) was sleepwalking through the last stage of his life.
And We Go On Adventures
This is one of my favorite things because it’s the ultimate turnabout. As a single mom she didn’t have the time nor the funds to take us to expensive restaurants or lavish vacations, but that didn’t mean we didn’t get out. In fact the opposite. Any family gathering in the Bay Area or faraway Los Angeles was just an excuse for an adventure, and mom’s greatest strength was her willingness to go.
No fear of big cities or traffic or where’d we’d eat or sleep, we’d figure it out and we always did, and sometimes I felt more privileged than friends with far richer parents — because we went places, we did things, we saw the world, not a tv version of it but the real thing.
Now I get to repay.
I tell mom “hey I’ve got to deliver some product, do you want to come — we’ll stop for lunch and maybe drop in on so-and-so on the way back?”
I haven’t always held my little side hustle art business in high regard, mostly because the effort often far trumps the payout. However it’s now one of my best excuses to take mom on an adventure.
And that’s what we do.
These deliveries are made in boring places like Bodega Bay, Pt. Reyes, Napa Valley and Calistoga, Healdsburg, Sonoma, Glen Ellen and Marin, etc.. (in other words we’re not slumming it).
Mom often spots a bakery and I order an americano for me and a chocolate eclair for her, and we talk and drive and turn average Saturdays and Sundays into pretty great days.
I know it because I ask her and that’s what she says.
And because of this.
It was 211 over 140 when I arrived.
Can be pretty simple, like lunch with my brother at a coffee shop mom would normally never have frequented, on the way home from a few local errands.
Another great day.
Look I know
I made a documentary about caregiving for my dad, went on radio stations and shared the experience in newspaper articles — but these moments with mom are a little more personal. I’m just trying to share because the lessons I’m learning are too valuable not to.
But hey I’ve gotta go right now — I hear mom stirring and I’m planning today’s adventure.
Happy Trails ya’ll.