My mother received wonderful news recently regarding some health conditions that have been causing her more anguish than physical pain. She’s very independent (sometimes too independent), still drives and has a life of her own. She doesn’t need me or my brother to take care of her on a day-to-day basis.
Our generation has been renamed the “Aging Baby Boomers” for good reason. We’re aging a lot faster than we want to, along with our parents. Many of us have already lost one, if not both parents. We lost our father a few years back and quite frankly, I’m not ready to give up my mother. She still irons my work shirts.
Without a retirement plan to help her through the Golden Years, in my eyes, we are her retirement plan. Instead of depending on a monthly check, my mother can withdraw, without penalty, any service she requires.
She took care of us for all those years as kids and as we got older, put in countless hours of babysitting, housecleaning and meal production (she’s Italian, you know). When it comes to taking care of her after a health issue or chauffeuring her to varying doctor appointments, we are invaluable to her. When she needs us, we will be there for her.
You know what keeps her up at night? Worrying that one of us might have to take a half-day off work to take her to an appointment. Whatever health problem she may have to endure, she worries more about disrupting our lives.
With Mother’s Day right around the corner, give your mother the only gift she really wants: spending time with you. Don’t just show up for dinner when invited, stop by when she’s not expecting you. Call her every now and then, for no reason at all, just to say hello. Think about what your lives will be like when your adult children are on their own and with their own families. How much you are going to miss them?
Let me offer an open letter to my mother from her boys:
Mom—You dedicated your life to us when we were young and taught us how to love and understand. You prepared us for this journey called life, picking us up when we were down and shining a light along the path when it was dark. You taught us how to appreciate music and laugh at The Honeymooners. Most importantly, you taught us how to respect ourselves and others. Without you or Dad, we wouldn’t be the men we are today.
So now it’s our turn.
Helping when you need us is not disrupting anything. It’s not an intrusion. You’ve earned that from us. This is one retirement plan that will never run out of capitol.
There’s a beautiful piece that is attributed to “unknown author” that I’d like to share:
Your mother is always with you. She’s the whisper of the leaves as you walk down the street. She’s the smell of certain foods you remember, flowers you pick, the fragrance of life itself. She’s the hand on the brow when you’re not feeling well. She’s your breath in the air on a cold winter’s day. She is the sound of the rain that lulls you to sleep, she’s the colors of the rainbow; she is Christmas morning. Your mother lives inside your laughter. She’s the place you came from, your first home, and she is the map you follow with every step you take. She’s your first love, your first friend, even your first enemy, but nothing on earth can separate you. Not time, not space, not even death.
Mom, from the time we were babies, we looked up to you and Dad. Now it is time for you to look up to us and know that you’re in good hands.
Besides, who’s going to iron my shirts?
Paul DiSclafani, a Massapequa resident, is a 2018 Press Club of Long Island award winning columnist and an Anton Media Group contributor since 2016.