Today would have been my mother’s 80th birthday. She lost her long, valiant battle against cancer seven years ago this summer. She was a fighter, and fought until the end. Her ability to withstand pain and not complain about it was astounding. Sometimes I wonder whether she would have been diagnosed sooner and maybe had a better outcome if she had complained more and earlier about the pain she was in, but that kind of speculation is pointless.
Though it’s hard not be a little concerned about the dwindling life expectancies of our rapidly dwindling family. My great-grandparents lived well into their 90s (my father’s maternal grandfather dying in style while doing a complicated math problem – come to think of it, maybe that’s what caused it); my grandparents well into their 80s (Dad’s father dying in style on Christmas Eve in his special armchair while his beloved wife of more than 50 years made him a cup of tea) and my parents barely making it to 70 (Dad lived 5 months after his 70th birthday; Mom made it to 73). So if I’m lucky, I might have another 10 or 15 years. Shouldn’t I be working less and having more fun?
Speaking of working: an unexpected side of effect of the jobette is that it’s brought me closer to Mom, proving once and for all that it’s never too late to work on your relationship.
The jobette requires driving to and from the Big Town three times a week, about 40 minutes each way. Mom loved to drive, and drove rapidly and skillfully, whereas I am not a big fan. To make the experience more bearable*, I always have music in the car, like Mom did, and for safety reasons, I have my Mouse**, which has never failed me yet. And most days, I wear the hand-forged silver bracelets that Mom always wore.
Listening to the radio so much inspired me to start a Song of the Day playlist on my iPod. It started out as the song that made me happiest when I was driving that day, but I have to admit that some days, there was more than one song.
The songs were a revelation of sorts. Though there’s a fair amount of new stuff, I definitely seem to enjoy the songs of my youth, songs that date back to when Mom was driving the car and I was the passenger, instead of the other way around, as it is now. Apparently, I like disco (who knew?) and never met a Steve Miller song I didn’t like. Go figure.
Megan’s gift from Mom was Schatzi, and mine was the love of music.
Mom inspired the playlist and I know she would love it, and have one too. When a song comes on the radio or the iPod which she really liked, I feel like she’s right there with me. In retrospect, she really had great taste in pop music. And when I finally pull into my rocky, potholed, muddy (or dusty) driveway, I always say “Thank you, Mom” as I take off my seatbelt and lurch toward my house.
Thank you, Mom. And happy birthday***.
*I do realize that complaining about a 40 minute commute beside the Pacific and through groves of ancient redwoods is very non Mom, and also annoying to the rest of you who have real commutes. Or wish you had one.
**My utterly unsuperstitious brother also carries a Mouse with him to every fire call, and so far so good, even when fighting the terrifying wildfires a few years ago. These Mice are Mighty.
***There was a breathtakingly beautiful full rainbow over the ocean this morning. I thought of you.