(From The USA Today -- By Craig Wilson)
I am spending this week at home with my mother. I had some time off and decided to head north. See what was up.
She will be 90 in July and has forgotten more than I've ever known. But that doesn't mean she has forgotten the cardinal rule of being a mother -- telling her children what to do.
Before I even arrived in Upstate New York, she announced she would have a list of chores waiting for me when I got home.
"Bring some work clothes," she said on the phone. So I did.
I have always tried to convince her that when I come home, it's for a visit and not a work tour. She has never quite understood that concept. She looks upon me as free labor. Why else have children, I guess?
So here I am, cleaning up the yard, trimming the shrubs, washing a window or two.
When I was home last fall, I also was handed a list of chores. That trip it was the cellar and its contents that needed my undivided attention.
I didn't see the light of day for days.
But one of my mother's better qualities has always been her spontaneity, her willingness to drop everything and go to town. Literally. She has always liked to go for a ride.
So when my chores got too much for me during the last visit, I would ask if she'd like to go into town.
"Yes!" she would say, forgetting our to-do list.
So ride into town we did. Sometimes it was for nothing more than a quart of milk or a loaf of bread. Lunch maybe. It didn't matter. It was a break.
Not that my mother needed a break, but let's not quibble here. The ploy works in getting me some time off. I am using the trick again this week. Maybe more than once.
And every evening, when the day has slowed down and a couple of more tasks have been crossed off my list, we return to a ritual that has changed little over the years.
I get the lawn chairs out of the garage, then pour us drinks. Gin for mom -- how else do you think she got to 90? -- and wine for me.
We then sit out in the yard, watch the occasional car go by, the sun set, the bats emerge to perform their dance at dusk.
We rarely talk.
Instead we stare out across the lawn, toward the fields, and beyond to the woods. On occasion a deer or two will stare back.
"Isn't this nice just sitting here?" Mom said one night.
Go home. Sit with your Mom. You don't have to say a thing.
Happy Mother's Day.