Visiting with my 87-year-old mother was more healing than I had expected. I was excited to show her my new home and all of the things that I have come to love in Santa Fe. I was looking forward to having fun together, but in casual moments we both found healing and gifts that were unexpected.
In our few days together we tasted hot chocolate from ancient cultures, went to the Folk Art and Indian Museums, botanical gardens and tourist shops in search of a dream catcher with white feathers for her bedroom at home. On the first night, I heard her up at 3:30 am. I asked if she wanted to go outside and see the stars. We stood on my porch and looked at the vast sky of a thousand stars feeling like we were in a real-life planetarium. She wanted to know where the Big Dipper was in relation to Orion’s belt. She insisted that we look it up online in the morning. This quest for knowledge was reminiscent of my childhood when I made the mistake of asking a question during dinner and was coerced to get the encyclopedia and look up the answer. How I hated that! I was eating dinner!
Mom likes to keep her mind alert, so anytime day or night she can be found studying the bridge column to sharpen her game. Yet, when we were having lunch in a local restaurant and a group of 13-ish boys came in with skateboards, she said that she was jealous of them for their balance. She is not envious of people with big homes or jewels, but of these boys for their balance and agility.
In one of our talks about life, she mentioned that she was annoyed when people said, “It is what it is.” She feels that it is defeatist and doesn’t leave space for positive thinking to create a different reality. We decided to reword the saying to, “It ISN’T what it is!”
And, one night as I was tucking her into bed, she told me how she is so proud of me for creating this new life that serves me so well. She acknowledged that I have been through difficult times and could have gone in different directions. Her eyes shined with joy for my adventure and accomplishments. She thanked me for all that she has learned from me. I hadn’t asked for her approval, but when it spontaneously came, it warmed my heart and I felt that I had received something that I had wanted long ago.
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