Mama I'm comin' home

I don't usually (read: ever) title posts with Ozzy lyrics, but this one just slipped out. We're heading west to the land of snow and dry air for 8 days, for another holiday season that won't be the same without my father around. Truth be known, though, as much as it pains me to be in the last house my father lived in without him, I'm very excited to be spending time with my mother.

In recent months, it's dawned on me that I'm really not spending as much time talking with my mother as I used to (like when I lived closer and didn't go to bed an hour after my kids). When we're all together having a coffee, or a glass of wine, we always end up to telling family stories, which usually reverts to "Dad" stories in short order. We revel in the memory of him, and delight in the funnier tales of his 54 years, or as much of it as we can claim to have been a part of. My mother, of course, knew my father as an adult, and I had a man-to-man relationship with him for only a few years. Having left the homeland (Alberta, not Africa) after university, it was only on the odd trip back home and over holidays that we got to have grownup conversation. I won't start talking about how I'd like to get his take on parenting, lest I descend into the realm of weepy nostalgia. The main point is this: when you grow up, you get a chance to know your parents in a different way. And the more time you get to spend with them as an adult, the more you learn about them.

The reason I bring this up is because lately I've been feeling particularly distanced from my mother, and someday when she's not around, there will be a lot of things I wished I'd known about her. Like what? I don't know, but the one thing I do know is that I'm getting to know The Lovely Wife's parents a lot, and I'll be able to tell great stories about them to their grandchildren when they're no longer with us, but how many will I be able to tell about my own mother? Again, having family so far away gives you limited opportunity to do more than just catch up on current events. I always tell people that "my family does well at a distance", by which I mean that we haven't been the type of family to spend outrageous amounts of money getting together, and didn't think twice about moving around the continent. TLW's family is not quite the same: they seem to talk just about every day, even though some of them live just as far away from each other as my family does.

I don't think I appreciated the impact of this distance until very recently, and though I know that my mother and the rest of the family out west aren't likely to relocate here without a certain amount of luck and arm twisting, I want to find a way to make things a little better; to be a little closer, despite the distance. How will I accomplish this? Again, no idea. But I think it'll start with fighting jet lag to stay up and talk with my mom a little more on this trip. And somewhere along the line, I'll have to re-learn to enjoy telephone conversations, a thought which hearkens me back to my high school days, laying on my waterbed and listening to Def Leppard until all hours of the night.

And just like that, you question the credibility of my opening statement.

Anyway, I don't know what revelations this trip will bring, but I'm excited about getting together with family again and just having a chance to interact as adults. Certainly more excited than the 8 hours of travel time in confined spaces with a preschooler and a toddler, though I probably don't have to say that. Here's hoping I can stay up late enough for the 'remember whens'.

Posted bythemikestand at 11:07 AM  

3 stepped up to the mike:

Brianna said... 4:32 PM, November 30, 2007  

I struggle with this a lot myself -- I'm happy in NY but damned if I don't wish I could spend more time with the CA family. I think that part of the solution is phone calls but the other solution for me has been to make a commitment to a certain number of visits a year and making sure they happen. I very much doubt I'll ever regret the money spent on airfare.

Steph said... 5:01 PM, November 30, 2007  

While my father is only a 5 hour drive away from home, I find that our relationship has changed a great deal during the last 9+ years.

It seems there is a different bond between a father and a daugther than a mother and a son - a mother, it seems, will love her son no matter what. A father will never forgive his daughter for growing up, getting married and moving away. At least, that's how it works for us. (Ok, and I may have been a complete biotch when my dad remarried.)

Sigh. It really makes me miss my mom. 'cause she could always fix things between my dad and I.

richgold said... 10:28 AM, December 04, 2007  

Phone calls. My DH gets calls from his mother or he calls her, once a week.

I write the blog to keep her in the loop of day-to-day stuff.

I also write emails and real letters to my family. Take lots of pictures and post those for the family to see.

Of my sibs, I'm the most talkative.

My own mother is 20 minute across town. She's moved into a different stage of her life where she wants to do stuff that she wants to do. Visiting with her grandchildren or children isn't always a priority. I may have regrets later on, but my life is what it is.

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