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BlueWolf's Howl

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June 12, 2002

Packing Mom

Last weekend we moved almost everything. My mother and I spent Saturday packing and moving most of the loose items. My brother, his wife, my aunt, my uncle and my cousin arrived on Sunday to move all the boxes and the moving company took the furniture on Monday. After 18 years of living in the same condo, my mother is selling it and moving to an apartment. She's also retiring after more than 30 years of service for the State of Rhode Island.

With two big changes in her life occurring simultaneously, she needs motivation. I am a former drill sergeant. I organized and kept her focused. But that was last weekend. This weekend she needed her daughter.

There were a few things left in the kitchen and the condo needed the last cleanup touches. Curtains were taken down and the empty rooms were vacuumed and marked off the list. Unlike my mom, I have lived in many apartments. I know the "moving out" routine.

My mother used this opportunity to let go of some of the older items in her household and bring new things into her life. She now has a smaller tv with a remote control. Her entertainment system with the 2ft speakers was replaced with a micro unit that has a 5 CD changer. She's simplifying her life.

"Do you want this?" I ask while holding the ironing board. "Oh, that's old, throw it out, I'll get a new one" she replies. "Yeah, it's only 45 years old." I was right - exactly to the year. She had bought it in 1957 (probably using S&H green stamps). As I went to throw it in the dumpster, I realized that I didn't have an ironing board. It was the ironing board that I learned on...when I was barely tall enough to reach the surface. It went in my car.

"Do you know what this is?" My mother peels open the green bag to display a large board. It was my grandmother's breadboard. It had the distinct markings of being crafted by my carpenter grandfather. It was how he showed his love for her. He made her things. And she showed her love through her cooking. That board has seen many pounds of pizza dough, cavatelli, and rice piecrust. Now that she's retired, my mother has the time to make cavatelli again - and enjoy it. She's becoming my grandmother. I packed the breadboard in the back of her car.

It took a few hours to get the final pieces in place. We put the food in large green bags and took it to the car. The frozen food was our excuse to not linger. She locked the door slowly and deliberately as if to lock all of her memories in that place.

I unpacked the cars while my mother put some of the things away. Her apartment is in a quiet area with lots of trees. I noticed that most of the community is around my mother's age. Marchetti's Restaurant is only a few blocks away. We had dinner there to celebrate my mother's move. We feasted on large salads, fresh seafood and an abundance of pasta. Song after song from Frank Sinatra played softly in the background while we listed all the fun shops in this new area. This is the time my mother worked towards all her life. And now that she's here, it scares her. She has to learn to exhale.

Her granddaughter arrives next weekend to visit for a few weeks (from Oregon). The excitement will allow the changes to settle in slowly. She also has a cruise planned with my aunt, uncle and cousin. And her grandson (born on her birthday last year) lives only minutes away. She will enjoy these coming years.

My mom has now traveled from Mother to Crone. And I have a 45-year-old ironing board as a memory of the ceremony.

Posted by BlueWolf on June 12, 2002 02:26 AM