In my young adult years, my mother and I weren't always that close. Always loving, but not friends like Dad and I were. When we moved to Florida in 2011, it was to give her and Dad a hand. Mom was fighting the Alzheimer's battle, and Dad was 89 and had his hands full. So, off we went to narrow the gap in what typically had always put me thousands of miles away on the other side of the country.
Fortunately, we had a couple of good years before we lost Mom and those moments when the disease would take a break, became cherished and often funny memories. They still make me smile today.
I know so many of you have older family members dealing with different kinds of dementia. It's one of the toughest diseases to deal with, because everything else about your loved one is there, yet they're melting away in front of you and there's nothing you can do.
So, we all do the same thing; we cling to memories and moments from the past. We share stories and photographs that remind us of a time when life was so much simpler.
My mother was a very classy lady. The key word here is "Lady". Right down to her last days, she still had a sparkle in her eyes and simply loved her family. Even through some of the most painful Alzheimer's days, she was still focused and so funny.
One night in 2012 we were sitting and watching the Laker's game and Mom very indignantly looked at me and said,
"What exactly do you do for the Lakers?" - "Nothing Mom, they just pay me to watch the games!" - "Well, they lost tonight, and the boys are going to be sad. Get in the kitchen and let's make them some pasta!"
Mom became a part of whatever she was watching on TV. On another night, I came over to find her in heavy breathing exercises trying to deliver a baby.
"Get your father and tell him he's about to have a son!" - "Mom, you're almost 90, you're not having a baby!" - "Don't you tell me I'm not having a baby. Get your father."
Well, she'd been watching Father of the Bride II, and became Diane Keaton. She was having a baby, and there was no arguing with her. Dad looked at me, "What do we do?" My only answer was, "Just like in the old movies, go boil some water!" Dad just burst out laughing. Twenty minutes later we were having Chinese food for dinner and the scene had changed again. Mom was back with us, out of the delivery room and things were status quo.
So, here's my point for this Mother's Day. It's our stories and all the moments and memories of the past that make us who we are. None of us would be here without our mothers. And for those of us whose mothers are watching over us instead of heading to Sunday brunch today, cherish all those special moments. Find an old album to wander through and think about what you'd love to say to Mom right now and then say it!
There's a very special unique legacy we all share, and it's all thanks to things our mothers taught us. They're all thanks to the memories they created for us or were just accidentally a part of. And for me, even the Alzheimer's didn't change my mother's loving heart or how much she cherished her family.
Forty-eight hours before Mom died, I walked into her hospice room, and it was just the two of us. I looked at her and said, "You look great today!" She couldn't have been more sincere in her response, "Why shouldn't I?"
Happy Mother's Day everybody and to all of you moms out there - thank you for that piece of your heart you give up every day! And, as always make it a great Sunday and remember Mom gets that eleven-second hug today!