Spend Quality Time With Your Mom While You Have Her

by Colleen Dilthey Thomas
Courtesy of Colleen Thomas

My mother is my best friend. But truly, it’s more than that. We laugh at the same jokes; we show up wearing the same clothes, we finish each other’s sentences. She is the other half of my heart. But we are nothing alike. Her glass is positively overflowing and I’ll tell you that mine isn’t even half full. She is the kind of person who exudes joy in a way that is contagious; she is always smiling and happy. My RBF could get me into a lot of trouble some day if I am not careful. She looks for the good in everything, and I am the type of person who finds the singular flaw. That is just how we are. And yet, we are each other’s perfect match.

Recently my mother and I had the opportunity to take the trip of a lifetime, just the two of us, to Las Vegas. We laughed and we cried and we lived those five days with every bit of gusto that we had. And I am so positively grateful that we were able to. My mother is turning 70 and I wanted to take the chance to celebrate that birthday in the biggest way that I could. For us, that meant a trip to the desert to see Barry Manilow and Rod Stewart in their respective residencies. Jealous, aren’t you?

Courtesy of Colleen Thomas

My mother and I hadn’t been together, just the two of us, since I was in college. It was so nice just to talk and to laugh and to enjoy one another. I realized that I don’t have enough of that in my life. I need my mother to talk to. Just because I am in my forties doesn’t mean that I have outgrown her. Even though I am a mother, I look to my own mother for guidance from everything from what to make for dinner to how to handle tough times with my kids. She is my touchstone. She is whom I turn to. I truly don’t know what I would do without her.

When I was a kid, my grandmother was always with us. As an adult daughter, I understand why. She made us laugh and she made us feel loved, just the way that my mother does. My dad worked long days and my grandmother was there to be my mother’s companion and to offer her a helping hand. My mother wanted her around so that we could all enjoy her. I understand that now. It is the same reason that I have my own mother with me so much. I want those relationships to be fostered while they can be.

Courtesy of Colleen Thomas

Time is not promised to anyone. And as much as it pains me to say that, I realize that my mother isn’t getting any younger. I don’t know what I would do if I got the call tomorrow that something had happened to her. My world would quite literally coming crashing down. Perhaps I depend on her too much. She fills a void in my life that no one else can. The bitter Bettys of the word have said that our relationship is unhealthy. We spend too much time together. We are too close. No mother and daughter should be the way that we are. But more often than not, I hear people say that they wish that they were as close as we are. They tell me to be grateful that I have her and to love her with all of my heart. That I do. I do it every single day.

Courtesy of Colleen Thomas

My brothers and I decided that for her 70th, we would solicit cards from family and friends to do a countdown 70 days to 70. I decided to take a quick video on day one to tell her about the surprise. She was moved to tears, as she often is, and was so excited. I posted the video on Facebook and the comments began immediately. “I can’t wait for the next 70 days.” I never intended to actually share a video every day, but people asked, so we have. We are currently on day 20. She reads the card each day and the messages that she has received are nothing short of remarkable. There has been so many days that we have been moved to tears by the beautiful things that people have said about my mother. I can honestly say that I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like her. This project has proven that.

When so many people love your mother the way that they do mine, you get a real taste of how lucky you are. I wasn’t just blessed with a mother. I was given the best mother. Yes, I know that everyone says it, but I mean it. She is like no one that I have ever known. The positivity, the generosity, the effort that she makes to compliment people on the street-she is the kind of person that I hope to be someday. And while she is still with me, I want to learn as much as I possibly can from her.

Courtesy of Colleen Thomas

It is hard for me to imagine a world without her in it. I don’t want to think about the day that I can’t just show up at her house for a Diet Coke and to complain about the littlest things. We only live a half a mile apart. My heart couldn’t bear to be much farther away. I just couldn’t. There is no one in the world that can replace my mother. Even after all of these years, I need her. She will often say that the work of a mother is never done. She has shown me that although the daily responsibilities evolve, the parenting never ends. Her children and grandchildren come first before anything. That, I model every day.

I hope that my daughter and I will have the same type of relationship that my mother and I have and that she and her mother had before us. My relationship with my daughter today and her relationship with my mother is just like it was for me growing up. A mother and daughter are amazing, but having the third generation is something magical that I feel so blessed to be experiencing.

If you can do it, take the girls’ trip. Go out for that cup of coffee. Pick her up to run to Target. Spend the time enjoying your mother while you can. Learn from her. Love her. Let her know what she means to you. My grandmother lived to be 97, weeks shy of 98. I pray that my mother gets those genes. But just in case she doesn’t, I am living each day with her like it’s the best day. Not the last, but the best. I am laughing and crying and enjoying the gift that she is, not just to me, but to this often ugly world. We all need a little light. She is mine. I am grateful.