My Mom’s birthday was on the 19th of July and with a nine hour time difference to Germany it’s not always easy to plan a call. I stayed up the night of the 18th into the 19th and it was already passed midnight as I attempted my first call to reach her. Call after call, all I received was a busy signal and for a moment I contemplated if she might had taken the phone of the hook so she could sleep in. Mom sleeps later these days and like me tinkers around late at night. Close to 1 AM, I was ready to give up but told myself to try one more time. I’m glad I did, because low and behold there was actually a ring tone this time and the line wasn’t busy. Shortly afterwards she answered and right away I felt that she was in good spirits. She was bubbly, laughed and didn’t stop talking. I listened as she seemingly had much to say and informed me proudly that she arranged a get together with some of her cousins and her sister at Colmberg Castle. It’s an old fortress near my home that is privately owned and has been turned into a hotel and guesthouse (restaurant). I spent a night there last year and it is a regular place of interest when I’m home. She was beyond excited of going and my heart was truly happy for her. I wanted something memorable for her special day and she managed to arrange it all on her own. She wouldn’t be sitting in the house all alone today and I was relieved and happy for her. My mind and my heart was at peace, knowing that she was taken care of. But there was also a lesson, and the awareness that my feelings are always in turmoil when it comes to the issue of my mom and the things that remain unresolved about the future.
A few weeks ago my girlfriend in Germany suggested to me to come home and assess the situation. My mom shouldn’t be alone anymore and a transition for me to Germany is time consuming and very complicated. It’s tough to work full time while trying to dissolve the majority of my adult life, including a household. Talking to Angie, I decided then and there that it was wise to follow her advice and try to come home. I cleared all the details for time off, timeframes and responsibilities for taking a partial unpaid leave and all that was left was to cross my fingers tight to find a somewhat reasonable flight with good connections, minimum time left wasted and one that would be financially affordable. A lot of boxes to be checked off and perhaps another challenge.
Mom continued to chatter away as I was trying to tell her that she would have to wait for her birthday present a little longer this year, and that I was going to hand deliver it. She never let me finish in her excitement and after the third attempt, I finally I told her that she had to listen up while I slightly raised my voice. She still talked while I, now for the fourth time, try to tell her that I’m coming home to visit. Somewhere along the line she must have heard something, and all of a sudden even though granted for only a brief second there was silence. Silence that was followed with the word “When?”. I laughed and so did she once I made mention that she finally, finally must have heard me. Geez what’s a girl to do, to finally be heard haha. Since I didn’t have the ticket yet or the exact date, she continued talking, business as usual, no word about my upcoming visit. Maybe I ran her over in surprise, maybe it’s just a typical response and feelings are mostly hidden and seldom shared from my mom’s side. It will take a few days of adjusting again once I’m home to cox her out, as everything about me is always about feelings and not holding anything back.
A short while later mom told me that she had to go get ready as the nurse would show up soon to tend to her feet. Mom receives daily care through house visits, plus she had a date with a castle in the afternoon. For today this was her priority and I was more than ok with it. We wished each other a happy birthday and I will talk to her next week when my own medical procedure will keep me housebound and away from the trail.
Throughout the day, thoughts from our conversation found their way back into my mind and I could feel a smile dancing across my face. It would be a great birthday celebration for both of us and for that time, however long it might have lastet, a weight was lifted off of my shoulders. I celebrated this special woman that gave birth to me and had such a tough life. Even across the miles and being far, far away, I felt closer to her then I have for many years and all I wanted was to be there and share that beautiful day with her. Any day and perhaps every day. Soon, hopefully I will. Later that day, a $499 round trip ticket found it’s way into my life, or I should say into the life of my best friend and the best planner and researcher there is. Unheard of and I don’t even remember ever flying that cheap. Perhaps once, 20 some years ago, and to top it off, it’s a great flight. Sacramento to Charlotte, Charlotte to Frankfurt Germany without long layovers and extra baggage fees. $499 all inclusive and almost too good to be true. The universe definitely aligned itself to make this possible and all there is left to say now, is….
Happy birthday…Mama, I’m coming home 💙
This song has accompanied me on every trip to Germany. It remains tradition, but I am happy that the meaning of the lyrics have somewhat changed for me and while some things still ring true, my relationship with my Mom is closer than it has ever been.