Tuesday, October 18, 2011

How and when did I become my mother??

My mom came for a visit last week.  It also happened to be my 41st birthday and it was nice to have her here to celebrate.  For me, birthdays are similar to New Years, reminding me to review my accomplishments, goals, and dreams, to realign/readjust and to make new goals.  As I get older, it seems that the years go by faster making every moment count even more.  Having my mom here was also an eye opener...a peek into my future...and an explanation of my present.

My mom at Natural Bridges State Park, Santa Cruz
I haven't lived with my mom for 24 years and after she and my dad moved to Alabama (I was still living in Alaska) I haven't visited much either.  Being from an Air Force family, this didn't seem all that odd.  Money and time-off have often been an issue for me...the times I've had money I could't take vacation and the when I had the time to spare I couldn't afford the airfare...or, had to choose how and where to spend the little vacation time I had.  My parents retired in Alabama (I have never lived there), my sister is in the Army and lived all over (Alaska, Colorado, Georgia and New York).  My best friend always wants me to visit and spends her time in Washington D.C., Arizona, or Florida and my extended family (aunts, uncles and cousins) all live in Pennsylvania.  On top of that, living in California provides so many fantastic destinations that it was virtually impossible to make everyone happy when it came to deciding on where to vacation and with whom.

But, even though my mom and I haven't spent much time together during my early adult years, I was stunned to see how many of my mom's 'habits' I have picked up.  Sadly, it was often the things that were starting to get on my nerves that I recognized my own behavior in what she was doing! Things like having multiple drinks at once (hmmm, do I want water or coffee or tea??  I know, I'll have all three!!) to making several trips to the cupboard to grab just a few more almonds or crackers.  It's funny that we can so easily see other people's 'bad habits' before we see our own...even when they are the same.

Mom and Clark

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

Spending this week with her has been wonderful.  She made my bouquet for our Lake Tahoe Wedding on Christmas Day, she took me shopping for my birthday and bought me a wonderful Clinique facial cleansing set, I introduced her to e-readers and she got a Nook (so she doesn't have to lug around a bunch of books all the time), my fiance and I took her to the Santa Cruz Mountains to camp among the Redwoods (something she's never seen), and then, on her last day, I surprised her with a trip to San Francisco for Fleet Week.  I'm afraid I sent her away worn out and sore from all of the walking we did (it's hard to remember she'll be 65 in February!!).
Floral designer for over 30 years!! 

Mom displaying my wedding bouquet!
Perfect for skiing with after the 'ceremony'!
But it's been wonderful in another way...emotionally we got to connect in a way we couldn't when I was younger and my dad was alive.  While my dad was a great father and provided well for my mom, he certainly had his 'issues' and I often blamed my mom for being too weak to leave him.  During this visit I got to know my mom as the woman who held our family together, who sacrificed things for her own reasons...reasons that I don't get to criticize because they weren't MY decisions to make.  She's a lot stronger than I ever thought...and a lot smarter.  I'm actually a little ashamed that for years I felt she was just naive and weak.
Fleet Week San Francisco
Pier 39
Getting to know my mom better has helped refocus my mind on the things I still want to get out life...things that are truly important.  When I talked to her about my concerns with running she advised me to continue to run ONLY if I truly love it...and to remember that one day I may not be able to run, so take advantage of my health and desire now.  As we have all heard, it's not the things we've done that we end up regretting, it's the things we didn't do.  My mom will be 65 in a few months yet, like many of us, she doesn't feel her age.  She wakes up ready to tackle the world but finds that her body doesn't always allow her to do everything she wants.  Likewise, I don't 'feel' 41 (or I guess what I think 41 should feel like)...and I see myself moving into different age groups on race forms but feel like I can hang with the 25 year olds.  In a sense that's a good thing...but I feel it's important for me to remember that, as I age, my goals have shifted.  In the past I had "run a marathon" on my Bucket List...which I accomplished in June of this year.  Yet, my 20-30 something mind wants to run a bunch of marathons!!  In the meantime, my other goals have been thrown by the wayside due to the rigorous training involved with marathoning.

I honestly feel that spending time with my mom has added some clarity to my life.  And not just for my health and fitness goals...but it has answered some questions about my upbringing, habits, likes, dislikes, and future.  And now, I'm off to review my goals and Bucket List!


  1. What a great post. So glad you had a nice time with your Mom. Happy Belated Birthday, btw..if I spent more time on Twitter I probably would have known the exact day and could have done it properly. Anyway, welcome to Club Forty-One. Not a bad place to hang out, really.
    Before my father died, he told me one thing that I'll never forget: do things while you're young enough to do them; don't wait until....until you retire, until you get more money, until your next vacation. You won't always have the body you do now, and for people who like physical activities, we need to take advantage of the lives we have right now, so we don't regret the things we didn't do.


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