Making Time

The past week has been insane. I’ve been in the car more than out which is true of most mothers of school age kids I think. School, library, store, school, orthodontist, eye doctor. And they weren’t things I could cancel or change because I’m trying to write 50,000 words in a month.

Then there is the stuff with the house, I’ve been to plumbing supply houses, electric supply houses, we’ve had to replace Christmas stuff so we could send in the receipts to insurance. To buy some winter clothes because I’ve learned mine have been deemed unsalvagable. We could just list these things but we are insured for replacement value and the kicker is if you don’t buy the items to replace what you lost, they depreciate the items and don’t give you the money it would cost to replace it. So I had to go shopping. I’m missing the female shopper gene or chromosome or whatever it is so it’s not my favorite activity. But our Christmas trees and wreathes and many ornaments had to be thrown away and my kids want a tree. We’ve made the mistake of waiting until after Thanksgiving to try to buy a tree before and had trouble finding one. My husband is only home (in the same state) Friday through Sunday so we went today.

My mother’s 80th birthday was Thursday. One of my sisters decided to have a surprise party at a restaurant for her. On Wednesday. A school night. An hour away from where we are living. My sisters aren’t married and don’t have kids. Wednesday was the day I had a doctor’s appointment, had to take clothes to the laundromat, was squeezed in for an appointment at the plumbing supply and my younger two had eye appointments.

I thought about not going to the dinner. I worried about being too tired to drive back after the dinner which I knew would be at least three hours. I was afraid of having an accident. I didn’t feel like making conversation with relatives. I worried that my sixth grader would skip doing his homework. I was exhausted and stung so tight I was afraid that the wrong word would make me snap.

My mom would have understood. She’s worried about me. About us. But as I drove from one place to another barely making it to each place on time, I knew I had to go. It was her 80th birthday. We are so incredibly lucky that she is healthy, active and on top of things mentally. And she made time for us. Always.

My dad’s blind so all the driving, all the running around, all the appointments were her responsibility. And she was his driver. His reader. The person who helped him search titles. Who picked up the baby being adopted from the hospital or the parent who couldn’t keep it and brought him or her to the new parents. The one who told him what color the wires were in the circuit box so he could fix whatever wasn’t working. Not because they couldn’t call an electrician, or a plumber or send the lawnmower out for repairs. But because he wanted to do it himself and he enjoyed it.

She couldn’t always be the one to pick us up from school but she always made sure if she couldn’t that a neighbor could. She wasn’t always home when we got there but she made sure someone was. And as the oldest, I knew she was torn. She loved (still does) my father and wanted to help him in any way she could. But she also wanted to be home with us. And I knew if I called, if I needed her she would drop everything and come.

My mother came to every concert, every open house, every recital. We always had a birthday party and she was always smiling and making sure it was wonderful for us.

I went because I felt obligated and I didn’t want to hurt her by not being there. Once there, I enjoyed visiting with family friends and my cousins and aunt. And when my mother walked down the steps and saw all of us sitting there, the surprise and joy on her face made me so glad I’d made time. That we’d all made time for her in the middle of what was for everyone a hectic week.

My mother thinks my dad is amazing. He is. But so is she. And I never appreciated her so much as I do now when I’m frantically trying to keep up with everything I have to do and my kids have to do. As I juggled everything on Wednesday and stressed about everything I had to do the rest of the week and the next, I realized something. The only reason I can do it is because for my entire life she has been showing me how.

Now I need to tell her that.

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2 Responses to “Making Time”

  1. Sheryl Says:

    Robin, in the midst of my own insane schedule that makes me crazy I read your post. The timing couldn’t have been better. Parents are highly underappreciated, their efforts and lessons taken for granted because that’s what parents are supposed to do. Thank you for reminding me how lucky I am to have both of my parents and the great examples they have set for the way I should conduct myself throught life.

  2. Scope Dope Cherrybomb Says:

    Well, now that both you and Sheryl have made me cry I just think you should copy that post and give it to your mom. That says it all. What a wonderful testament to her. She sounds like a phenominal woman.
    You are too. You learned well.

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