The time has come. I’m traveling to Washington state to be with family and celebrate my mom’s life. She passed away from asymptomatic COVID on New Year’s Day.
My brother and I were grieving badly along with our aunt, Mom’s little sister, and we decided to wait until her birthday to spread her ashes and to be together to celebrate her life. I thought a little time would help me face the loss. I don’t know if it made it better or worse.
The trip has been hanging over my head since the first week of January. Now that it’s here, I’m feeling waves of grief and untapped emotion.
The photos are from property that has been in the family for three generations. This is where we’ll say good-bye to mom.
I wrote this years ago, when I was visiting my mom in assisted living near Seattle. I am reposting this in her memory. We lost her Jan. 1, 2023.
Why is my daughter so annoyed with me?
I understand how she feels. After all, I was once 19 years old. I remember it very clearly.
When I was that age, everything my mom did, I found unbelievably annoying.
I’ll never forget sitting with her in the car, getting ready to shop at Bellevue Square. She had parked the car. She was fumbling through her purse, making sure she had what she needed. She reapplied her lipstick. Dug through her purse for her wallet to look through credit cards. Searched several times to check where she placed the keys.
Would we never leave the car? Would I be stuck all day? I must have said something to her quite snippy or flat-out mean. A few tears rolled down her cheeks. Which made me more upset with her.
Isn’t it a sad feeling, transitioning from a mom who could do no wrong—from changing diapers, to cooking their favorite spaghetti, to taping treasured colorings on the fridge that were made just for you—to being the person of their abject disdain?
It’s a tough new role. Let me tell you.
But, having gone through these feelings myself, I understand. I’m visiting my mom this week in her assisted living center. I talked about it with her, what I’m going through now, and what I felt like when I was 19. Fortunately, she doesn’t remember me ever being a snarky 19-year-old.
For some reason, I’ve gained more patience throughout my life and that has been a blessing. I’ve also learned forgiveness.
Something else I’ve learned through years of parenting — this too shall pass.
It’s called independence and freedom. We want our children to grow and become separate human beings who can stand on their own. They need to separate from us. A good time to do that is during their senior year of high school, or their freshman year of college. They need to. I keep telling myself that.
However, we also want to be treated with respect, and once again—someday—to be cherished.
Have your children been annoyed with you? Do you remember being annoyed with your parents? What were the reasons why?
This afternoon we check into our Palm Springs VRBO to celebrate Christmas with our two kids and our son’s girlfriend’s family. Also, my dad who is turning 91 in a few weeks lives close by. We’re going to be a smaller group this year due to two sisters in Europe and the mother not well enough to make the trip from the Bay Area. One daughter is staying home with her. All in all, with those not coming, we’re down five people. So our party of 12 is now seven.
Who are you spending Christmas or Hanukkah with this year?
In a couple days, we’ll be leaving to have Christmas with my kids, dad and our son’s girlfriend’s family. Our kids suggested Palm Springs, where we moved from exactly two years ago this week. Last year we gathered in Santa Barbara, which was a fun — if not rainy and cold adventure.
I’m conflicted over Palm Springs. After leaving, I don’t have a strong desire to return. I don’t know if it’s an emotional response. If it brings up too many memories. If I miss it, or if I don’t miss it. It makes me feel things I don’t want to feel.
For the kids, who never wanted us to move from Palm Springs, my husband agreed to rent an Airbnb a few blocks from our old home. It’s all for them, not us.
What I’m looking foward to:
Seeing our big extended family.
Walking around my old park.
Swimming in my former city pool.
Going to my old favorite restaurants for a taste of Mexican food and Italian. We haven’t found any good spots here.
Do you think it’s true that you can never go home again? Why or why not?
This photo is from this date in 2016. We bought this little guy Waffles for our daughter. She took him home after Christmas break. I picked out his ugly sweater.
Back home after a long weekend in Mexico, I’m feeling overwhelmed. After our morning walk my husband said he wanted to sit down and go over our calendar.
“I have to sit down and write my to do list,” I insisted. “I have so much stuff running through my head I have to write it out.”
My list keeps growing and growing. On my list is writing and addressing Holiday cards for my husband’s business, including packaging and mailing out Frangos. That’s the big project. Then there’s dozens of small one off items to do.
I love going out of town to relax, but why does it seem like I have so much to do — before we leave — and after we get home?
Do you find that too? Or are you able to stay calm and steady around days of vacation?
Our Christmas crew a few years ago at our Palm Springs home. We’re a family of four and our son’s girlfriend’s family has seven siblings — plus Waffles the pug. We’ll be together again this Christmas week.
i wrote this post in August last year when I discovered extended family were building on my property. I have added an update at the end.
Question:What would your reaction be if you were looking at Facebook photos posted by relatives and noticed a deck had been built on your property?
Here’s the story:
My brother and I have owned a piece of property jointly since 1995. Our mom quit claimed it to us. It’s in Robe, Wash. It’s been in the family since the 1930s. My grandfather bought 10 acres along the Stillaguamish River and gave parcels to his three kids (my mom was one) and to his sisters.
Robe is a beautiful, magical place. It’s pristine. There’s no running water or electricity. My dad designed a cabin in 1959 before I was born. My mom and dad, with their own two hands, built the cabin that has given me some of my best childhood memories. Fishing at dawn for breakfast trout. Snuggled into our mummy bags listening to the roaring fire at night. Floating down the rapids with friends. Jumping off the giant rock into the deep swimming hole.
About 15 years ago, my brother and I had the cabin torn down. It was falling apart. Someone had trashed the interior and lit the floor on fire. The roof was leaking. It was a liability and was inviting trouble. We left the fireplace. Some relatives hauled it off in exchange to access to our property which my brother arranged. I thought he had paid a service to do it.
Although the extended family — I have no clue who most of them are these days — have their own lots, ours is where they gather for an annual reunion. I go from time to time. They prefer our lot because our property faces the swimming hole in the river with a big rock. There used to be a sandy beach, too.
Now here’s the question of whether someone has gone too far. I was glancing at photos on facebook from the recent family reunion that I was unable to attend. This is a photo of a deck on my lot. I’ve never seen it before. Nobody asked me if they could build it. Apparently it was for a distant relative’s wedding — that I didn’t know about. My brother knows nothing about any of this either.
What are your thoughts of somebody building on your property without your knowledge or permission?Or holding a wedding?
Our extended family has an entirely different vision for Robe than we do. They have hired a logging company to come in and remove trees on their adjoining lots to ours. They are going to park RVs on the property and install a manufactured house.
They aren’t going to touch our property, but having this destruction right next door affects us.
My brother and I think that keeping the property natural is what is magical about it. It’s an hour and a half from Seattle and the river, trees are beautiful. We are 100% against removing hundred year old trees for a little cash.
I have been avoiding a difficult conversation for months now. It’s been eating at me. I’ve prayed to find the right words. I received an email yesterday that I needed to answer — and I realized I was being handed the perfect opportunity. I decided on the outset of the day to call right away and get it over with. But first I took my morning walk.
I think by procrastinating, literally for months, I was building the call into something it wasn’t. I was making a bigger deal out of the call than it was. I knew I’d be anxious all day, so I chose to make the call in the morning.
By putting off the inevitable, I was stressing myself out and generating needless anxiety.
Yes, I did it. I feel like a huge weight is off my shoulders. The person I talked with is very reasonable and understanding. That helps.
I remember working as a financial advisor, I hated some calls more than others. I could easily put some calls off on the back burner — until they absolutely had to be made.
I have a sign sitting on my desk that says “Live now. Procrastinate later.” I should look at the sign a little more often.
What do you do when faced with a conversation you don’t want to have? Do you tackle it right away? Or avoid it at all costs? Do you do the same thing with chores or things you don’t want to do like taxes? Or do you face the monster and end the nightmare?