The main reason for the trip to Rochester, or at least the excuse for it, was my mom's birthday. She turned 85 years old on August 29.
|Mom and me|
My mom's birthday has special significance in my world. Part of it is that it provides the only real opportunity for our family to get together each year. With mom living in Dallas, my brother and sister in Rochester, and me - well - wherever I happen to be, it's not something that happens by itself. And with my mom getting older these kinds of trips get harder on her. This was the first year she arranged for a wheel chair to meet her on the plane and take her to her connecting flight.
My mom is a rock. She's healthy, she enjoys life, she's happy - and at the same time she seems to have come to peace with the stage of life she's in. Her friends are passing away one by one and I suppose that once you get within striking distance of 100 that's to be expected. But she doesn't dwell on it, and she's always planning for the future. That's how I know she's ok.
The main way I can sense that she's aging is in her voice. She moves slower, too, but I suspect that's to be expected. She bought something called a HurryCane that she absolutely loves - she'll talk about it for 20 minutes if you let her. But the one constant is that her purse still weighs a dozen pounds or more. It's more like a small suitcase full of various aspects of her life - books, keys, who knows what else - than a purse.
|My mom, the birthday girl....and her monster-purse|
Her birthday that was perhaps most memorable for me was her 70th, in 1999. I had come out to her in early July at breakfast in Rochester and it would be the first time I would meet the entire family after beginning my transition. My FFS with Dr. O was scheduled for late July so I would be 5 weeks or so post-op - but not even full-time yet. I was slowly but surely gaining confidence living as Donna outside of work until early October when the life I had known would be gone, and the life I was about to embark on would become real.
My mom made it clear that she didn't want my transition to be the main focus of the visit and I was fine with that. I came out to my brother in mid-August, and the first time he saw me was when he picked my up so we could go to mom's birthday dinner together. Mom picked out a dress she wanted me to wear, and I looked nice in it. There was no tension, no apprehension, no jitters - at least on my side (and I didn't sense any in the rest of the family). My brother acknowledged that it was a little awkward at first, but that we'd get past it. And we have.
Anyway - I digress. There were 20 people at mom's birthday dinner. It was great having everyone together.
|My mom's birthday dinner gang.|
The most important thing is that my mom had a good time.
|My brother, my mom, and your's truly - after a long day at the Sailing club....|
This was a day to remember....I doubt we'll be able to replicate it. If lives are made of notable days...well...this was one.