My mom turned 80 on the 4th of May. To celebrate
this and Mother’s Day, Murray, all five kids, and I went to Missouri to visit
her last weekend.
This included two day-long trips with six of us in a van.
(Rebecca drove down from Iowa to meet us.)
Six people together twice in a van for about twelve hours.
Plus all our stuff. And all our personalities.
Actually, there was a lot less bickering and squabbling than
I’d feared. On the way there Saturday, I said, “I’m really having fun going on
a trip with you guys.”
Sarah always encourages Murray to keep up with his “reading
the bible through in a year” program. She read to him in the car to help him
stay caught up.
Mom’s doing pretty well health wise for 80, but there was no
way she could have seven adults crashing her house for three nights. The kids
stayed at a hotel for the nights (Ping-Hwei was delighted), which just meant
Murray and me crashing at Mom’s. Certainly strain enough for her.
Truly, it was a lovely time.
Mom told me about the birthday and Mother’s Day cards she
got from my brothers and said, “But I didn’t get either one from you.”
I laughed and said, “I thought just getting a visit from all
of us would be enough.” I knew there was still more to come.
On Sunday night, besides the bag of gifts I had for Mom,
Murray and the kids had many more lovely gifts for Mom and me.
Mom’s favorite was probably the photo album with a variety
of pictures of us all over the last couple of years which Sarah captioned. This
has become kind of a tradition.
After Mom had finished opening everything she said to me,
“You should just spank me for saying that about not getting any cards.”
We went to church with Mom, and they had flower gifts for
special moms—the oldest mom, the mom with the youngest child, the mom who’d
been a Christian the longest. I got one for the mom who’d come the farthest,
and Mom got one for the mom with the most children and grandchildren present. I
think she enjoyed taking a large bunch of family visitors to church.
Mom is going to have a new floor put in her kitchen, so
she’s been packing up all her dishes to move out for a while. She figured she’d
downsize some while she does that, so she sent us all home with a ton of dishes
and knickknacks, some antiques.
I love Mom’s dog, Flash. He comes to me when I call. He’s
twelve now, and Sarah said it was fun to play with him, “Especially since he
doesn’t jump all over us anymore.”
It was good to see two of my brothers. Rodney patted me on
the back when he left the house, and Mom made Jim give me a hug.
I was a little sentimental this weekend for some reason. It
had been at least six years since all seven of us had been to visit Mom, and I
kept wondering if we ever would again—with the kids spreading out and having
Mom is having the new floor put on her kitchen, so she’s
staying on the farm for now, but she talks sometimes about maybe moving to town
someday. I got a little bit teary thinking about that.
I walked around, listening to all the familiar sounds from
the home where I grew up—a calf bawling, chickens squawking, the dog barking,
roosters crowing. And somehow the birdsong sounded better than in Lakewood.
Being with Rebecca tugged at my heart strings. I kept
wishing I could see her more than two or three times a year. Then I remembered
Mom only sees me twice a year.
On the drive home, we got to talking about the last trips
the kids had come on with us. Benjamin remembered the trip for my dad’s
funeral, when we got the stomach flu, and I threw up in the car.
Benjamin and Caleb then went into great detail about
memories of that family sickness until Sarah started moaning.
I do love them all so.