It's been a whirlwind of a week and I am very glad to have it all behind me. I just now folded the laundry I put in the washer five mornings ago (then put in the dryer a morning later). I've logged 1,135 kms on our Saskatchewan highways, travelled down gravel roads, sketchy highways and drove down memory lane with my mom. Literally and figuratively.
I listened more than I talked and I still talked too much. I'm not putting myself down when I say that, it is simply that I ran out of words long before the days were done.
My youngest son graduated and it was a privilege and honor to share the day and all the memories with family. My own little "family of four" were all together, my mom wanted to come out for this occasion and my sisters joined the party. It felt a little bit wonderful to spend the day surrounded in family.
Mom spent a full day with me and my daycare crew. Considering she found the ticking of our kitchen clock loud and irritating, a day with four very vocal and busy children felt very long and hard.
We had a full day at our disposal so we drove around and took in a little bit of quiet family visiting. We spotted a moose in a field, a few deer in the ditch and generally took in the beauty of our Saskatchewan landscape, enjoying this summer season of growth and greenery as we made our way down country roads from one destination to the next.
The next day, we drove out to our home town to take in the parade and festivities of their 105th birthday and "Homecoming". For a small town of (I believe I heard this correctly) 195 people, they put on quite a party. There were 700 registered guests and many who didn't "sign in" to be counted. It was quite possible there were about 1,000 former residents and families who gathered. It is a small town with a big heart. It feels very humbling to be a part of such a community.
After one very long, exhausting and busy week I met my brother at the halfway point between our two cities and we got Mom back home safe and sound and (I would imagine) just a small bit exhausted.
Mom is 88 years old and full of vitality and spirit. It was a week that wore me out, pushed me out of all sorts of comfort zones and into a world where I barely had time to recoup from one day before the next was thrust upon me. Yet Mom woke up each morning with a "What's next?" kind of attitude that put me to shame.
I asked her if she knew who may have been the oldest one at our hometown reunion and she answered, "I certainly hope it wasn't me!!" There were some pretty worn out souls who attended our homecoming and Mom certainly didn't look like the oldest. Not by a country mile. But at the age of "88", she could have been. I replied, "But what if you were? I think that would be the greatest compliment you could receive" (as I thought of those who were ailing, in wheel chairs and looking very tired and worn out). Mom may not be as spry as she was even five years ago, but she went where she wanted to go, reminisced with the best of them with her quick wit and smart comebacks.
I really have no desire to live a long, tired life but if I do, I want to be "just like Mom". Too stubborn to let a few little aches and pains be the centre of my conversation and thoughts. I want a mind that is as sharp as hers as she can easily pull out the facts and memories old and new. I would only hope for one minor modification. I hope my brain holds onto the "good stuff" and lets go of that which does not serve me.
I marvelled at the way people act in Mom's presence. At times, it was like the seas parted to make way for Mom to be seated and comfortable. One person even gave up their lunch for her. There was a sense of respect and admiration for this spry, vivacious soul. Mom has always been one who has been small of stature but is large in her presence. She never complains about her health, her lot in life or her circumstances. She is not only who I want to be, in most ways she is also who I want to become.