I spent Friday night and Saturday with Mom (and Bob). To understand how important this is to us both, means understanding our relationship. I had the pleasure of working with my parents from the time I was 18 until 40. They started with a gift shop in the corner of Heritage Square Mall in Hendersonville. This used to be the "it" place to be. The building was formerly a bakery which was divided into several small shops, a restaurant, hair salon, Antique Shop, Craft Shop ,Yarn Shop. When I was a Junior in High School in Brevard, they opened a tiny little Antiques and Art Gallery which displayed my fathers art as well as Antiques we brought back from Europe, where we lived just four years prior. We managed various moves within the building, from small to larger, to two shops, then add in opening the first Antique Mall.
When Zack was born, we were in Heaven, we wanted a child for several years when we finally got pregnant after three years. He is our miracle baby. I had several issues when pregnant when we thought we had lost him, then when he was born I needed an emergency C section and ultra sound, but the hospital was short staffed (it was their Sabbath at a Mormon Hospital) and neither was possible. When he finally was delivered, the umbilical chord was wrapped so tightly around his neck that he was deep blue color and not breathing. After our Lamaze instructor / nurse grabbed him, massaging his legs and arms (like you do puppies) he finally gasped for air and after a few hours on a ventilator was "normal". Mom (and Rhonda) were in the delivery room with us and saw the whole thing. That moment the bond formed between Mom (Meme) and Zack. When he was three weeks old, Mom and I were on the road for our first show selling the Father Christmas Figures. When he got older ,Mom stayed in the room with him and they spent the entire long day together playing, singing and bonding even more. Mom, Dad and I fixed two areas that were just for Zack. One upstairs in their studio and the other in the tiny loft above the counter of the Antique shop. He went to work with me every day and was literally raised by the "village". Zack would go upstairs with Mom and Dad, would be picked up to have a cookie with customers who ate at the restaurant and would play on the floor of the hair salon with Nezzie and Pawpaw (an older couple who had been in the mall since the beginning).
When we closed the shop (it was better for Mom to sell on Ebay, less overhead) Zack was ready to start school. Through the years Mom and I stayed close, talking on the phone all the time, having meals together with her and Dad. Frank, Zack and I would even go and stay with them in Destin for a week of their month long vacation in the winter. When Dad's Alzheimer's got worse and Bob moved in with them, our bond grew even stronger. (if that's even possible). My mother has survived being a child during WWII in Belgium, a rough first marriage to my "biological" father and the nightmare that was Alzheimer's. She had kidney cancer, which was treated by removing her right kidney (thankfully no chemo or radiation was required), a broken ankle with multiple pins inserted ,a broken back and the loss of her soul mate and love of her life. All of these things didn't compare to the day I had to tell her Zack had cancer. It knocked her off her feet and she is just now getting back up. I never expected her to take it so hard. We also lost our times together.
Every Tuesday for years, Mom and I would get together, have lunch, go shopping, gossip about our favorite shows, talk about the small insignificant stuff or heavy stuff like how much she missed Dad. Like clockwork I would arrive, she would have purse in hand and our day would begin. We would go to Doctors appointment, thrift stores, the bank, pharmacy, she would have her list and we would mark things off one by one all the while laughing, crying, just being each others support. Mom keeps me grounded. When I worry about something, she tells me to be still and listen to my heart, stop being anxious and stop worrying. She always says she worries enough for both of us, hell for ALL of us! Not seeing her every week has taken a toll on the both of us, but we have adjusted and know what time we do have is a very special gift.
It wasn't until yesterdays visit that we realized how much our time together means. Mom says she goes about her daily routine and then when I call and say I'm coming, she is like a little child getting a treat, she doesn't realize until I am there how much she misses seeing me. I feel exactly the same way. I am a woman, I am strong, I can handle anything that comes my way, but when I see my Mother I KNOW everything is going to be okay.
It has been a couple of weeks since seeing Mom, so when I asked if I could come on Friday night and we work together Saturday, Mom immediately said "Yes, yes yes, BUT you have to promise NOT to clean my house." "Yeah, okay... NO PROMISES". There is still so much Mom does, but there are some things that I know she can't do and since I LOVE to clean and organize she KNOWS I will do something. We managed to sort through several boxes in her closet area, some of Dads items, papers from years ago, documents she no longer needed. It was a challenge for Mom to say the least. As she looked through papers there would be photos in between of Dad blowing kisses, Her with her first Christmas tree, me with my long pigtails, memories both good and sad. She would cry a couple of times as I would hug her and tell her to let it all out. "There's nothing wrong with a good cry every now and then", I tell her and as she wipes away the tears, I hand her another box. We start to laugh, I am a drill sergeant and we WILL finish this room!!
It is noon and I call to check in on Zack. He is home finishing up his final paper. He is a bit grumpy, but is going to finish the paper this weekend, no if's, and's or but's! Mom tells me that I am one tough Mamma, but she also knows in other areas I'm a sap. He is feeling good, I'm sure the blood transfusion from Friday helped. Frank is out fishing for the day with Matt, so I know I have the entire day to enjoy and relax about when it's time to go home. That is one of the many things I love about our marriage, we give each other space and time for what we enjoy. Since next week is the Hospital week, we want to get out and have some "fun" time. Our couple time is usually at home watching a movie or one of our favorite recorded shows.
Mom and I head out to lunch and then hit the stores on Main Street and then the thrift stores. We head home around 5 pm and she tries to kick me out the door, but I have a surprise in mind. I vacuum the house and then when in her bedroom I reorganized her clothes, made up her bed, and got the room we had just emptied out back in order. I do the grand reveal and she is so excited! Bob gives me a big hug and Thanks for all the help and company, I give Mom a big hug goodbye and I'm on my way back home. When I arrive home, it is spotless. Frank and Zack worked together to do the dishes, laundry, vacuum and Frank even made the bed. Of course, it's 8:30 pm so I mess it up by crawling in and going to sleep.
Sunday, Zack finished up his paper late tonight!!! This means that he is now an "Early High School Graduate"! Through everything he has finished his four classes AND Senior paper!! (And "they" said it couldn't be done!") Frank worked on the outside water feature and property taking down the Christmas lights and cleaning up the left over leaves and I worked in the home office sorting through medical bills, papers and preparing the business' quarterly and annual tax documents to bring to our CPA tomorrow. Zack was in really good spirits, he bought two video games for in the hospital, had his friends over for awhile while he was still working on the paper and had a good amount of energy.
It was the perfect weekend! I accomplished so much, but had so much fun doing everything! Frank had a great time fishing with his friend and came home with a ton of pictures to share. Zack is done with High School and anticipating his future in Automotive. We find out the results of all of his tests Tuesday, but I know that everything will come out just fine!
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