A week with my mom

Casey, my 6’5″ son, hugging my super petite mom.

I’m blessed to have spent a week with mom or, as many of you know her, Dame Joan. We haven’t done a lot, frankly because she has a tough time walking for any length of time, but I think it says a lot about our relationship that we don’t have to do anything to enjoy each other’s company.

We did have dinner with my sweetheart, Robert, at one of our favorite places, Cafe Torino, and another night we dined with my dearest besties Sandra, Jenn, and Lisa at Rockwood, but for the most part we hung out. My mom with her iPad and books, me with my laptop and work. Sometimes we talked a lot, nonstop. Other times we just sat, across from each other, keeping each other company. My mom drinking her diet green tea, me drinking coffee, then water, then of course, at 5pm on the dot, wine.

She is my best friend. I can and do tell her everything.

About my sons, my job, my relationship. About my fears (of getting sick, and why wouldn’t I have such a fear? I’ve seen it happen first hand), my hopes (of doing good things with my TED Talk, of writing another book), and my crazy aversions (to buying a good set of pots and pans, I mean, I’m 57, can’t cook worth a damn, and date a man who prefers to eat out – thank God! Why would I make such an investment in a room – I believe they call it the kitchen – I spend no more time in than it takes to make and pour my coffee?)

My mom and I have always been able to spend time together, saying nothing, just sitting comfortably across from each other, doing our own thing. It has been like this since I was in high school. I’d come down to the kitchen in the morning and she’d already be at the table with her coffee and her lists, and I’d pour my coffee and sit down next to her with my lists, too. I commuted to college, so our morning “meetings” continued for those four years as well.

And then…

Then came the rest of my life. A real job. Marriage. Children. A major move to a new place. A death. A divorce. And here we are. Back where we began.

I’ve loved this week with my mom. We haven’t done a lot, and yet we’ve done so much. Talked, laughed, gossiped, shared sad stories and silly memes, reminisced about my brother David, the Christmas dinners and wonderful Saint Patrick’s Day parties we had at the house, the friends and neighbors we loved and miss. I’ve been silly and she’s responded (as she always has), “Susan, watch your mouth!” to which I’ve responded (as I always have), “Wait! I’ll get a mirror.” She even came with me to get my hair lopped off and cheered me on as I finally, after all her years of encouragement, embraced my face.

“You know,” I said, “you always told me – “

“You look better with your hair off your face,” she said.

It only took me ’til I was pushing sixty to see she was right. She’s always right. Always has been, always will be. That’s my mom. Gotta spend another week – or six – with her again soon.

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10 Things I’m Thankful For


I count my blessings as soon as I wake up. And I start with the fact that I’m awake. That’s a biggie.

Anyway, after I’m like, “Yay! Another day!” I move on to being thankful for my health. Despite having to take 400mg of Ibuprofen before I work out and 400mg after to combat the pain from the whole spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease thing I have happening, my health is excellent. And you know what they say: If you have your health, you have everything. Well, you probably don’t have everything. I’m willing to bet you don’t have a Ferrari or ten million dollars or the Hope diamond. But still. Since you’re walking and talking and fit enough to bitch about not having any of those things, you’re ahead of the game.

Once I’ve thanked God for making bad bones my biggest health concern (because let’s face it people, it could be cancer, or MS, or ALS, or something else terrifying and terminal), I go on to thank Him for my husband and our beautiful home. For my sons, my parents, and the incredible group of girlfriends I’m blessed with. I also give thanks for piping hot, light, sweet coffee, and wine. Always wine. And let me not forget Excedrin. I’m very thankful for Excedrin, especially when there’s been a little too much wine.

I’m thankful for other things, too. Dozens of crazy, silly, quirky things I think of during the day. These are just a few of them.

1. My husband’s cooking, and the fact that I’m so nearsighted I can’t see the scale.

2. That my sons have no plans to join the Islamic State. They’ll just continue their reign of terror here at home.

3. Hot flashes. Sounds crazy, but it’s nice to think something about me is still smokin’.

4. People who don’t believe how old I am. I’ll bet they can’t see their scales, either.

5. My ability to read music. And these days it says, “For the love of God, please don’t touch the piano!”

6. My utterly fearless, über high-energy husband. And any day the man needs a nap.

7. The “As Seen On TV” aisle in my pharmacy. Because sometimes only pants that come in a box can make a girl feel better.

8. The fact that I haven’t lost my parents. I misplace them occasionally, but they always turn up.

9. Air conditioning. Because this girl can only be smokin’ for so long.

10. My anti-anxiety medication. I worry every day I’ll forget to take it. Then I take it, and worry because I can’t remember if I took it. Clearly, I’m at risk of an overdose

or early onset dementia, both of which beat the hell out of cancer. And for that I’m thankful.


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