So Can Daughters!
Mum was a woman to be reckoned with. She knew what she stood for, and never wavered. Completely honest, she taught me at age four that lying was the worst sin! Had I, she asked, climbed on the ice truck? Her voice let me know what the correct answer was, but I lacked the courage to own up.
My father adored his red headed, slender, principled wife whom he occasionally referred to as Mother Superior. She loved him in her own way, but the handsome, brash Irishman was a handful forever. Always faithful but headstrong, he spoiled her as much as she would let him. She was one independent thinker.
The couple had two daughters who had no meekness in them. I am eight years older than Ann; she is eight years wiser. While a Daddy’s girl, I would come to be closer to my sister than to my parents. Always respecting my mother and knowing she loved me, I realized we weren’t the kind of best friends I saw some of my girlfriends were with their mothers.
At the age of 75, Mum drove herself from Massachusetts to Virginia when I was in the process of getting a divorce. I was not completely surprised since she had been the first in her family to drive a car; then teaching her father! She was a comfort without being interfering. I had not known I needed her visit at the time; I know it now.
Not long thereafter, Mum’s sister Louise passed. When I learned she had spoken briefly with her sister daily for years, her loss touched my heart. I could not bear even the thought of losing my sister. Thereafter, I would call my Mum almost every day.
very happy and appreciative
for each and every
daily phone call.
Some were just 10 minutes, others half an hour.
In the beginning
I felt an obligation.
Before the end I felt privileged.
Now I miss those calls.
Gradually, this woman with a genius IQ slipped a bit. While she could always figure out videotapes and I could not, she began to have some difficulty with her TV. Kind neighbors in the next apartment gladly helped her when her sporadic difficulties began. When Mum moved to a luxurious assisted living community, she insisted those neighbors have her piano for their children.
I had been phoning every day by then, and was very happy I did. On the eleventh day in her lovely new surroundings, Mum fell and broke her hip. Over the next four years, she walked just once. That was when she was very aggravated, got out of bed, and walked to the nurses station to give the nun what for before returning to her bed. She seemed never to realize she had been able to do that!
Not once did I hear my mother feel sorry for herself. She kidded with the nuns and the aides, was thrilled to see both her surviving brothers come to see her several days a week, and actually had wheelchair races in the halls with her surviving sister, also a resident in the nursing home. She enjoyed every good time available to her.
Mum was also very happy and appreciative for each and every daily phone call. Some were just 10 minutes, others half an hour. In the beginning I felt an obligation. Before the end I felt privileged. Now I miss those calls.
she was delighted with the visit.
One thing I know for certain
is that I did not go enough.
She never said so.
I wish I could go to visit her
this Mother’s Day.
I realize now that, at the end,
we had at last become
When we drove to Massachusetts, she was delighted with the visit. One thing I know for certain is that I did not go enough. She never said so. I wish I could go to visit her this Mother’s Day. I realize now that, at the end, we had at last become best friends.
Jean Loxley-Barnard has been a writer all her life and studied both sociology and psychology at George Washington University where she earned a B.A. Her company, The Shopper, Inc., encompasses all the Loxley-Barnard family publications - The Shopper Magazines and Doctor to Doctor Magazine. She has been in the advertising, consulting and publishing business for 38 years.
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