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Friday, December 16, 2016

Side By Side - Precious Memories 15

I don`t know what`s a-comin tomorrow 
Maybe it`s trouble and sorrow 
But we`ll travel the road, sharing our load 
Side by side
                                          ~ Patsy Cline, Side By Side

After my dad died, the next few years, it was just me and mom, navigating life on a daily basis.

We were two peas in a pod. But, our situation had quickly changed. No longer able to be a stay at home mom, she realized she would need to obtain marketable skills, so she could enter the workforce.

She had always wanted to become a nurse but decided to “fast track” it and became a Certified Nurse’s Aide instead.  When I was in school, so was she. We did our homework together. I spent many a night and weekend, quizzing her on her medical terminology. She had little flashcards and we would work our way through the giant stack of them. I had a pretty good knowledge of medical terminology by the time she graduated. It ended up serving me well later on, when I studied to become a medical biller.

The dynamics of our relationship began to shift and we became good friends.

On the morning of my 13th birthday, she surprised me and said we were going to the mall. I thought we were just going shopping but when we got there, she headed straight for the little boutique that sold jewelry. She waited until we were there to tell me that I was getting my ears pierced! I was beyond excited. I can’t even remember how long I begged her to let me pierce my ears. Finally, my dream was coming true.

But imagine my surprise, when I was done, and my mom sat down in the chair after me! She had hers pierced the same day. I can’t remember much else about that day, because she caught me so off guard. I do remember that we had fun! That was the first of many birthdays I would spend with her, out and about, on the town, having a ball and making memories.

We became close during these years, many times more like friends or roommates than mother and daughter. She counted on me and I tried my best not to disappoint her. The next big surprise came after mom had been working a little while and decided to get cable television *and* a microwave! 

This was back in the 80’s mind you, so the microwaves were about the size of a chest freezer back then.  Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but they were much bigger than the microwaves today.  We were so excited!  I can’t even remember where we bought it from.

What I do remember is our dilemma when we got home and realized how much trouble the two of us were going to have, getting this monster up the stairs and into the house. The nice man at the store loaded it into the car for us but we didn’t stop to consider what would happen once we got home.   (We were having too much fun!)

I’m not sure how we got it out of the trunk of the car but my mom had always been the determined sort. Tell her she couldn’t do something, and she’d nearly kill herself to prove you wrong.

I know it took us over an hour and many stops before we got it into the house. We pushed, pulled, heaved, shoved and laughed all the way up the back stairs. Thankfully neither of us pulled anything important or developed a hernia.

We were a modern day version of Laverne and Shirley, and come hell or high water, that microwave was going into the kitchen.  I think our first meal in that thing was microwave popcorn.

For as much as my mom loved to surprise me, I enjoyed spoiling her right back. When I landed a very good paying job, I loved bringing her gifts.  Mom had never been the “belle of the ball” so to speak. She graduated high school but never attended a dance or prom. I’m not even sure her tiny little country high school had a prom.

She never had a fancy wedding or wedding reception.  There wasn't a time that I knew of, that my mom had really been lavished and spoiled.  She grew up poor and my parents were never wealthy after they married.

My mom wasn’t pretentious but she had her hair and nails done every week. That was her one luxury that she allowed herself to enjoy, once she started working and had a little extra to spend. She kept her appearance neat and clean. She didn’t have the best, but she always tried to look her best.

One weekend I decided to surprise her, yet again. I was able to get very good seats to the Phantom of the Opera through my workplace. We got all dolled up and took a “selfie” photo using the timer on my camera.    (This was way before selfies were a thing) 

As we made the long drive to the fancy theater, I can’t remember what we talked about but being with my mom was easy. We talked about everything.  My mom talked fast, so we could cover a wide range of topics in a very short amount of time.

We had a great time and on the way home, we stopped for dinner. It was late but we were hungry and decided to splurge. I remember the waitress asking us if we had come from a wedding. My mom giggled (she did that a lot) and I explained that we had been out on the town and went to see the Phantom.   The waitress commented how nice it was that we were having a Mother / Daughter night out.  Little did we know what a precious memory this would become.

I still have the photo from that night and it makes me smile to look at it.  I was blessed to have such a good friend.

 *The Precious Memories posts you read here, are dedicated to my mother, who battled Alzheimer's. I share snippets of our story, and some things I learned along the way.  

You can start reading our story from the beginning here:
Precious Memories 1 

You can read my last Precious Memories post here:
Longing For Home - Precious Memories 14

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