A Weekend 20 Years In The Making

These smiles–just add jalapenos and nachos– ’cause they are big and cheesy! They are the result of an accidental weekend. One-on-One time shared for the first time in over twenty years.

No imagination needed. We are related. The woman with the snow white ponytail is my Mom. And, although it’s not the first time we’ve seen each other in twenty years, it IS the first time we had each other’s undivided attention-ON PURPOSE, in well…ever. No one’s house was on fire. No interpersonal drama. No Lifetime movie crisis. In fact, she wasn’t even supposed to stay at my house for more than one night. I was to pick her up from the airport, live-laugh & love for a single evening, and then drop her off at her final destination.

Welp, chuck it up to a misunderstanding, her plans changed with only 48 hours notice. Should she cancel her flight, she worried? She was so looking forward to coming to Austin! She called me in a panic. Ideas were tossed around. A few hours later I received a text that she would like to stay with Me–the entire weekend–if I would have her. Whoa… A whole weekend with Mom? By myself?? Mano y Mano??? LOL! “Let’s do this!” I texted back.

If my trepidation sounds odd, allow me to provide some background. I am the 2nd child of five. There is an eight year gap between myself and the youngest sibling. My older sister, and a brother behind me, were from my Mother’s first marriage. A few years pass and then came two younger sisters and a Stepdad. The house was always on the go. There was never one-on-one time unless you were in trouble. I made sure to stay out of trouble. As we older children came into our teen years, my mom decided to go to college and the five of us became typical, 1980s latch-key kids. My older sister became the Assistant Mom, and I was made the assistant to the Assistant. I turned 18, joined the NAVY and was stationed in Australia and California. My older sister got married and started a family. My brother went on to join the Air Force until God called him to heaven at the tender age of 20. My mom was left with the two little sisters. Now in their teens, they too were on their own as Mom now had a career as a full time Middle School Teacher. My 2nd to youngest sister married and started her own family and my baby sister would also join the Air Force and go on to serve almost 25years before retiring as a high ranking officer. My mom did her thing and then we did ours. There was some overlap. Some big moments that brought us together. But everyone was young and ambitious–including my mom. We weren’t the fuzzy, huggy type. We didn’t gather for family dinners and play living room games. We all were, and still are, intensely independent. It’s only when we are around other families that we notice that our tendency to live separate lives puts us somewhere on the spectrum of an “alternative family dynamic”. But it is who we are. So…yeah. Three days and three nights with my Momma? (I should have also bought a lotto ticket that weekend! Dang it! Why am I just now realizing this?) I was nervous but excited.

Lastly, the reason we both were at a place where something like this could even happen was because about three years ago, I, and then she, opened the doors to meaningful communication. It had a rocky start. It was scary to be vulnerable and honest and to tell my Mom that I needed a deeper relationship with her. We had to learn to really talk. To wait for the other person to finish. To be kind when expressing clear boundaries that made us both most comfortable. We eventually learned that we could laugh with and at one another–lovingly, respectfully and playfully. Our relationship is still mending and reshaping for the better. I couldn’t be more grateful to God and to my Mom for softening up and giving us a chance.

We truly had a great time. We overate. We sang along to some living-room Karaoke. She saw friends from her childhood. I played my guitar for her. My cats showed her their stupid pet tricks–but not on cue for her camera. We visited and broke bread some more. And we TALKED –into the night–we talked. We shared our typical awkward hugs. (PLEASE giggle with me on this!) It is straight out of a meme or comedy show how poorly we come in for the Hug–unsure how many back pats are customary. The staggered release because we don’t know how long a Hug should last. And then comes the ‘Hug Disclaimer’ that one of us recites with a nervous laugh, “I know we don’t do this enough but…”

We are a beautiful disaster. Thanks Madre!

Until next time…

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