It’s nice to be someone’s daughter – at age fifty-five.
While my friends may be turning to friends for advice on their middle-schooler who has just pierced her navel or a teen-age son who is hell bent on touring the volatile Middle East this summer, I’ve got my mom as my compass and anchor.
This is what I did last Friday: worked in the morning and knocked-off about 12:30 PM – met my mother for lunch at a neighborhood eatery, where a long time acquaintance stopped by the table and stayed for the duration of our lunch.
“Gee,” she remarked wistfully as we got up to leave, “how nice that you have your mother to do things with.”
While my friends may be turning to friends for advice on hormone replacement, graying hair, arthritic fingers, and the Visa bill that’s too high to show their husband, I’ve got my mom right down the street as my personal guru/trainer/confidant. She still has a wad of maternal currency in her wallet that she spends discriminatively, but generously. She’s bailed me out emotionally, financially, and physically more times than I like to admit.
After lunch, we head to the specialty bra shop my mother has been nagging me to visit. Who else but your mother would have the patience, much less the interest, to help you shop for bras? Then we traipse to the mall for jeans, shoes and a black scoop neck top – all for me. We fight over who should carry the heaviest bag. I prevail.
My mom is a wealth of minutiae – a woman who begins every story with “Do you remember so and so?”
Well he was Henrietta’s brother-in-law’s neighbor, who moved to Boston in 1983, no, it must have been 1986…..”
My eye rolling, by this time, is in full swing, and yet, her meandering tales always have a point and a principle. And my sister and I find ourselves later quoting and re-quoting her endlessly.
At one popular women’s apparel shop, we are greeted with hugs and affection by one of my closest friends, who happens to work there. My mother advises me on which color camisole top to purchase. I petulantly ignore her suggestion and purposely choose the opposite color. Still, as we make our way out to the mall once more, my friend pulls me aside and whispers, “Do you know how envious I am that you’ve got your mother by your side?”
While my friends piece together family history from nameless, dateless, faded black and white photos, I’ve got my almanac of family facts, feuds, and foibles right at hand. And while my friends lack back-up, my mother’s always there to lend a hand. I volunteer her for good deeds that I don’t have time to do and she does them lovingly and with flair and creativity.
While many of my friends are yearning for mothers no longer here, I can pick up the phone and discuss ad nauseam the most recent antics of my five kids with the woman whose attention to this subject never flags – their grandmother.
Will Harry go into politics? Will Frank leave New York?
When will Max get engaged? Will Sam join an impov comedy group? When will Lou finally figure out a major?
Action wise, it wasn’t a blockbuster day. Pretty mundane. Ordinary. Run-of-the-mill. Two women shopping, lunching, chatting and exchanging confidences. And finishing off the afternoon with a visit to their local museum to check-out a traveling exhibit. But to me, it was magical. A day to be savored.
How lucky I am to still have my mother (and father) at age fifty-five? Pretty damn lucky.
I’m now sixty-nine and my mom is ninety. My dad passed away five years ago. And I moved away. Days like those above are few and far between, and savored all the more so.