Posted in Family, Randomness

My Birthday Surprise!

Being away from my kids doesn’t get any easier, especially during birthdays and holidays. This year my birthday was just another day for me, and that was okay. I’d heard from all the kids throughout the day, and I’d received a beautiful ‘Edible Creation’ from Meg.

A couple weeks later, Drew texted me and said I should think about coming to OKC from April 1st to the 4th. When I questioned him, he just said it had been too long. Tickled that he wanted to see me, I shopped flights and found a cheap one from March 31st to April 3rd (Thursday to Sunday). He said no, it was important that I was there on Monday; he would say no more, stating he’d “already said too much.”

Intriguing.

I spent the next several weeks trying to guess WHY I would have to be there on a Monday. The different scenarios I could think of never sounded plausible, so I decided to simply enjoy the anticipation of being surprised. I made the trip out there and had a great time with the grandkids who all seemed happy to see me (even Scarlett!) I got to see Dez’s school, watch in anticipation for Evie’s daily wardrobe creation, and enjoy Scarlett’s imagination indoors and out.  Monday’s surprise was never mentioned.

River Walk
River Walk

Sunday afternoon Drew said he was taking me to dinner downtown OKC, but that the babysitter fell through and Kris couldn’t go. I was disappointed for her, but she said she was okay with it, so I went upstairs to change. When I came back down, Drew said, “I thought after dinner we could also do this,” and handed me two sheets of paper. I opened them to find two tickets to see Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band in concert at the Chesapeake Arena!!!!!

WHAAAAAAAAAT?!!!!!!!!!!!

All the kids and their wonderful spouses had chipped in for this knowing how much I love this guy, this band. I was excited beyond words and of course embarrassed myself with my typical reaction (which Kris so subtly recorded and sent to the other two for their enjoyment).

Photo by Pam Springsteen
Photo by Pam Springsteen

Dinner on the river was really lovely. I thoroughly enjoyed some rare one-on-one time with my oldest child, trying to remember when that had happened last. The concert…well, I’ll never forget it. It was so amazing knowing that this band, in various forms, has been creating their quickly identifiable sound since the early 70’s! And while members have come and gone, those most familiar to me were there:  Bruce, 0403161935his wife, Patti, Stevie, Nils, and Max. And though I missed Clarence, it was heartening to see his nephew Jake step into his uncle’s role with his own ‘Clemons’ style. They look and sound better than ever. This 66-year-old rocker and (in his words) his ‘viagra-taking’ band played, without stopping, for 3+ hours; no opener, no break. He involved the crowd, leaving the stage singing “Hungry Heart” while he signed kids’ shirts, took selfies with attendees, and then CROWD SURFED BACK TO THE STAGE! In between songs, the arena would fill with the familiar, “BRUUUUUUUUCE!!” As soon as he’d finish one song, he’d toss his guitar to someone backstage, catch another one, go back to the mic and yell, “ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR…!” and swing right into his next, hurling us back, again and again, to our glory days.

Posted in Comp'ny, Family, Randomness

Am I lucky, or WOT!

Mom n meMy 89-year-old mother stayed with me this winter. She arrived the day after Christmas to get out of the bitter cold winter of northern Michigan for a bit. She bought an open-ended ticket, and so her one-month plan turned into a three-month plan, with her return flight the last day of March.

I feel so lucky and blest to have had this time with her. She is so easy to have around, always pleasant, never grouchy. She would sleep until 9:00 or so, then make her way into the kitchen for her first cup of coffee, the “nectar of the gods!” She would sit at the table and read one of her many Danielle Steele books and perhaps have a piece of toast. She may enjoy that for an hour before she would get herself moving to get ready for the day. And I was so happy that finally, after how many years raising 11 kids and constantly doing for others, her day would consist of reading, playing bridge on her laptop, doing crossword puzzles, or knitting, with the occasional stroll around the cul de sac in the afternoon. For months she would exclaim how guilty she felt about how lazy she was until I finally insisted that had to stop. There is no guilt in Florida! At night she would watch and re-watch her all-time favorite TV show, Downton Abbey, and if she remembered, there was always the DVD of Phantom of the Opera that she watched – last count, eight times – without ever tiring of it.IMG_0711

In the past several months we saw the full moon rise over the ocean, we ‘slipped the surly bonds of earth’ soaring in an open cockpit biplane over St. Augustine and the Atlantic; the site of her smiling face so close to mine is forever etched in my memory. We have enjoyed the on-stage Broadway musical productions of Phantom and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat; we would have the songs constantly playing round in our heads, and we would spontaneously start humming one of the melodies, then start singing together, one of us remembering the lines the other didn’t. We spotted the slow moving manatees at Blue Spring and enjoyed the giant kites flying over Flagler Beach. We watched in amazement as six kite surfers joined forces with Mother Nature on the ocean and in the air. We took drives through “Old Florida,” where I loved hearing her exclamations of the beauty of this area and how very glad she was that I found this ‘well-kept secret.’  She would tell me daily how happy she was for me, how much she loved it here.

Her hearing is going. She’s quite forgetful. But she loved to tell stories of the old days, and I have to admit I’d heard several I’d not heard before. My friends who had lost their own moms wanted to visit with her; perhaps she gave them a little of their own for a brief moment. I knew when I came home from work I would hear, “Here comes Tilly the toiler,” and when she’d say goodnight, she’d always add, “God bless you,” just as she did every night when we were kids. I tuck all these things away in my memory knowing I will need to pull them out one day in the not too distant future.

I never was able to get her to Marineland to feed the dolphins; the weather did not cooperate.  She said she wanted to see a sunrise, even though I reminded her that it wouldn’t wait until 10:00 to come up.  But I so loved seeing her sit happily at the end of my couch, engrossed in Ms. Steele’s latest book or one of her many crossword puzzles, looking lovely and comfortable, while I felt like the luckiest girl alive.