Empty House, Full Mind

Views of life from the empty nest


Friday is my mother’s birthday.  We are celebrating by traveling to Atlanta to visit my grandmother, my uncle, and his family.  There are others who will be there too – my brother and his two kids, Katie, and one of my mother’s oldest and dearest friends.  I’m expecting to have a fabulous time.

My mother, Judy, is really something.  I was born when she and my father were 22, and in some ways, we all grew up together.  After raising us, she went back to school and became a Marriage and Family Therapist, and when she and my father divorced, she managed to support herself and stay sane through some very difficult times.  She has had a very successful career, lots of interesting and unique friends, and children and grandchildren who love her and depend on her for a lot of emotional support (and I mean a lot!).  Up until recently, she hadn’t been able to find the right person to share her life with, though she sure did try.  We saw her with some very, shall we say, interesting men.

I can’t tell you how wonderful it’s been to watch my mother fall in love – and that’s what happened over the past year.  Judy met the right man, and that was it.  I have to say, I have never seen her as happy as she is at this point in her life.  And she certainly deserves it – as does her – ahem – boyfriend ( a silly word for a man of a certain age, but there is no alternative) who really is a wonderful guy.  Being with the two of them is so delightful – they are obviously so happy together, and I can see such a difference in Judy – her demeanor, the way she carries herself, and especially the way she looks at her life.  

We have always loved having my mother around, and she’s spent a lot of time with us over the years.  Of course, there have been moments when things were a bit much for me – I’m not a very patient person, and sometimes, Judy needs a lot of patience.  But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become a lot more tolerant of her quirks and unique personality traits, because the truth is, I’ve discovered, we all have issues (do we ever).  It’s just that she’s my mom, so it took longer for me to be tolerant with her than with anyone else.

When we get on the plane tomorrow, me, my brother, his kids, Judy and her wonderful guy, I know she’ll get emotional and gushy and tell us all how happy she is that we’re making the trip with her and it will make me all uncomfortable and squirmy, because that’s so not the way I am- in fact, just writing this is asking for trouble.  But that’s ok, because she’s a great mom, and that’s just the way she is.

Mom and me, 1971
Happy Birthday, Jude! I love you!

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  1. Just found your blog and it so resonates with me…unfortunately my mom passed away too early (when I was 22), so I enjoyed reading the story about yours!
    I'll be back!

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