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Bon Journal

Mother's Day Weekend

I wanted to be early, or at least, on time when my mother arrived at the airport. Forty-eight hours - that's all we have. So every minute counts.

Had I known that I was able to get an apartment for the eleven days in Houston, I would have had my mom stay for the entire period. At the time I booked my mom's flight online, I thought I was going to be in some stuffy hotel. So I justified the 48 hours of quality time together, only to regret that it's too short.

The sudden downpour on the 610 loop distracted me from my quest to be punctual. By the time I got to the airport, I was already late. She wasn't at the gate - and I rushed back towards baggage claim. There she was waiting - a frail woman in her early sixties. My mother.

My mother. Myself. All my youth, I wanted to become just like her: beautiful, talented, and well-liked. She mastered everything she learned. Quickly and perfectly. But I never wanted or expected to grow old, weak, ill-prone and forgotten. No, that was never in the plan. So how could I turn back the clock to the mother that I knew or change my expectations?

This was a weekend for her. In all my altruism, other than the facial I arranged for her so that I could visit the music store on my own, I still chose the things that I liked to do and needed to do.

She enjoyed the 80 minute facial and massage thoroughly. Dinner at a quiet Japanese restaurant took us back to Okinawa where we had lived for more than a decade. But I quickly forgot that this was a weekend for her not me.

On Sunday, we met my dear friend Rosie for a Mexican brunch outside. Mom probably got tired sitting in the sun. She was not the same afterwards. She kept asking to go home. Yet I kept insisting that we had little time - to shop for presents for my friends' kids, scissors to cut my hair, clothes and shoes for myself. Each time, I'd ask - don't you want to buy anything.

She didn't need anything - but time with me. Yet, I was distracted by the shopping that I thought needed to get done. In the end, I didn't buy any clothes, and felt awful about it.

And my mother? she was ever so patient, kind, and forgiving. Will I ever be like her? No. I will have to be a mother before I can even begin to understand.

12-13 May 2001

  My mother as a young woman