Maternal Musings While En Route to My Mother

As Mother’s Day quickly approaches, I’m touched by a few maternal thoughts…

Last week, I received an email from my mom that my grandmother was nearing the end of her life. Her brain, which has been overtaken by dementia and Alzheimer’s disease over the last 10 years has given over to her body, which is frail, undernourished and ready to pass.

Thus, I am now on a plane to Detroit to celebrate Mother’s Day with my mom, as we prepare for the passing of her mom, the only grandmother I’ve ever known.

While I am not yet a mother (and don’t plan to be in the immediate future, regardless of the fact that virtually every married friend from high school or college have either recently had babies or are having babies in the near future), I am beginning to understand the amount of work, patience and love it takes to be a good mother. Mine, arguably, was the best!

My mom was very active in my life growing up — everything from Girl Scout leader to chaperone, she was a champion of all dreams I was chasing in the moment. She enthusiastically and creatively planned social activities, she taught me all about people and required me to write thank you notes for every gift I receive.

Her mantra, “Be a friend to all you meet” still echoes in my mind each and every day.

I’ve watched my mom go from stay-at-home, active mother to pharmaceuticals rep to director of children’s ministry at her church. I’ve seen friends and hobbies come and go, and have watched her deal with the stresses of caring for her grown children and her aging parents.

My parents worked really hard to make sure both my brother and I believed we could touch any end of the earth if we wanted. The beauty of that sentiment is that they instilled in us a confidence and desire to make things happen. The drawback for them? We now both live far away and have started lives outside of their circle of comfort.

I don’t recall ever disliking my mom in my teen years, as so many mother/daughter relationships experience. In fact, I acknowledged that my mother was quickly becoming my best friend when I was just 18. My freshman year at Michigan State involved weekend calls to my parents, giving way to increased calls as I decided to continue my collegiate career in Colorado. Yes, I was flying a bit farther, but the calls didn’t stop. In fact, they evolved from weekly calls to daily phone calls even as I moved farther west to Los Angeles.

Just one month ago, my parents moved to China, which has shifted our morning calls to afternoon calls. No big deal at all. We still chat almost every day, and my mom acts as a great sounding board and encouragement. Likewise, I think with this new transition for her, I have stepped up to become a great friend to her. How’s that for circle of life?

As I sit on the plane, en route to saying goodbye to a loving, wonderful grandmother, I am of course, mindful of how precious and fleeting life can be. And as Mother’s Day approaches, I am even more grateful for the mother I have. She is truly a forever friend.

Happy Mother’s Day!