the embrace

I awake to a foghorn blowing across San Diego harbor—the familiar sleepy toot seeping through fog and low clouds—and I feel a little at home. Then Mom emerges from her slumber, we wrap our arms around each other and—in the embrace—I know I’m in the right place at the right moment, at least for now.

Mom and I spend much of our time together out on Shelter Island. We stroll the grassy promenade greeting dogs resembling their owners and stopping for long rests on splintered cedar benches. We spy pelicans and seals, the occasional dolphin and massive aircraft miraculously rising from the Naval airstrip at the water’s edge. We sit, often silently, and merely exist. And though she doesn’t much call my name anymore she knows my embrace.

We pass a long wonderful day with my sister Caron and my brother Scott. We lunch and nap and walk and laugh and dine and laugh some more. At Caron’s condo Mom sits next to her like a baby bird being fed bites of dinner from a fork. Just like Calvin, I think. Jokes ricochet off the lazy triangle of our bodies reclined in oversized chairs, cold drinks in our fists.

Scott, groaning from inside the kitchen: “Ouch!”
Christy: “Did you hurt your back?”
Scott: “No, I stabbed myself with a fork.”
Caron, laughing: “In the balls?”
Scott, with a chuckle: “That hurts just thinking about.”
Mom: “Yoooou betcha!”

We all crack up at Scott’s expense and at Mom’s ability to make almost any situation comical with her curses and her quips. She’s still got it, I think.

Sadly, the time comes when I have to take Mom home and put her to bed. On the drive there, both of us tired and weary, we chat:

“How am I going to know where to go?”
“I’m taking you home, Mom.”
“How will I know how to get there?”
“I know where it is ... you don’t need to worry at all.”
“Will you be staying with me?”
“Yep, mom, I’m staying with you.”
“Do your parents mind?”
You’re my mom.”
“Okay, you’re my mom.”
“No, you are my mom and I’m your daughter.”
“Well, if you say so.”

The conversation loops back on itself a few times over. “You’re tired, aren’t you mom?” She nods. We pull up to the house and Mom takes off her shoes and dons her fleece slippers in the courtyard.

“It’s nice of your parents to let me stay here.”
“This is your home mom, and I’m your daughter. I'm Christy.”

She looks into my face, studies it hard under the dim porch light, and I can see there is no recollection, perhaps even a hint of concern. “I’ll have to think about that one.”

So I put my arms around her—her tiny form melting into mine—and tell her that I love her just as her memory floods back into the embrace, “I love you so much, Hon, and I miss you. I wish you could visit me longer.” And I'm wishing the embrace could last forever.

1 comment:

  1. So glad that you have this time together. I hope the rest of your stay is wonderful, restful and filled with love.