“When I was a kid my parents moved a lot, but I always found them.”
“I feel like she’s moving on from me. She’s growing up, and doesn’t need me as much anymore.”
“No she’s not!”
“If your mother didn’t call for days or weeks because she was immersed in her lifelong passion, wouldn’t you feel just a tad bit abandoned?”
“Okay, maybe a little.”
When I came along, my mother either worked from home, or took me everywhere with her. I was tied to her hip. Unfortunately, Mom was also tied to careers she wasn’t in love with. She found things to love about her professional endeavors – people, accomplishments, working towards ideals and helping others. But it was never it. She worked really hard, owned her own businesses, lead teams, and always among the sound of,
“Mom, Mom, Mom, Ma, Ma, Mama, Mother, Mom, Mother, Ma, Mama, Mom, Mom…over here, Mom, come here, Mom, Mom.”
“WHAT?!?!? What do you WANT?!?!?”
It was me and Mom, all the way.
My parents sent me to college, and before I graduated I moved out of the house. During another transition into independence everything was about packing, deciding where things should go. I was only moving less than an hour north. The last items were put in my car, and I turned around, and Mom was shaking her head.
“Oh, crap. Mom, don’t cry. I’m going to see you this weekend.”
“I know, I know, I just…I know.”
She hugged me tight. While I lived just a short drive away, I would see my parents every weekend or every other weekend and talk most days on the phone. When I moved a state away, we talked on the phone a few times a week.
Then within the span of one week, Mom took over a restaurant, hired staff and opened it. Boom. Just like that. I don’t know how she did it, but she did it. I was worried at first. Owning a restaurant is tough, tough, tough. “Work yourself into the ground” was a phrase that just repeated itself over and over in my head. But my mother always dreamed of this, in different versions. Full-service restaurant to bakery, to pizzeria to pizzeria/bakery. Now she had her own diner. And she started working…hard.
Most diners are doomed to fail at the beginning, but God blessed my parents with a solid start that they can now build on. But, my mother barely has time to sleep. Eating comes in tasting, and phone calls come to me rarely or never. I felt guilty for not being there for my mom to help. During a recent road trip to visit family, I got the teeniest taste of the crazy busy and erratic pace of working a diner. The servers were a great team, like clockwork. Tables were constantly being turned. Mom was prepping desserts and meals, baking muffins, delegating tasks, sending people on errands, taking inventory, prepping drinks, greeting customers, acting as cashier, managing staff and us volunteers – all simultaneously. She didn’t miss a beat. She wore a chef’s coat and had a twinkle in her eye. I was there for only a few hours but was completely exhausted.
Before I had this chance to catch her in action, I thought I would have the chance to catch her on a car trip to grab more food and supplies. She fell asleep in the car.
Before she fell asleep in the car, I did have an old fashioned Mother/Daughter Day. It was heaven, being able to sit at a table with her and brainstorm on all manner of things.
This is hard for me, letting my mom go a bit to pursue her dreams. I’m still the kid, and need lots of attention. (I do have attention deficit disorder in that I simply do not get enough attention.)
In a twist of fate, I now experience the sorrow of separation, but I also get the pride in watching my mother spread her wings. So, Mom is growing up. That leaves me with only once choice…
“Mom, mom, mom, ma, mama, mommy, mom, mom, MAAAWWWMMMMAAAAHHH, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom…”
She’ll answer me. She always does. And when she askes what I need, what is going on, what is new…