Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Some would call my 84-year-old mother feisty, strong-willed, and opinionated. I would never call her those things – she’d wash my mouth out with soap. Instead, I’d call her creative, assertive, and my role model.

That’s why I didn’t quite understand her latest plan. She’d decided to move out of her home of nearly 20 years and relocate to a completely new city. And instead of downsizing, she wanted to upsize.

My husband and I are at a point in our lives where we are beginning to ask ourselves if we’re going to downsize to a small condo, buy a big ranch in Wyoming, or stay here for our golden years. Although ranch prices have certainly come down, thanks to the economy, we probably wouldn’t be able to sell our house in the current market. So we’re sort of stuck here, like it or not. Truthfully, we like it. Tom calls our house his “pine box” and doesn’t plan on ever leaving. So that settles that.

But my mother decided she wanted to start over somewhere new. “I’m bored with this town. I need a change.” I could understand that. Maybe the house and yard and pool had become too much for her. Maybe she wanted to simplify her life.

“So, are you looking for a new luxury condo?” I asked. “A quiet little trailer down by the river? A vibrant retirement community that offers recreational activities, social events, and stimulating classes?”

“Nope. I want to buy a big new house near a big old city and live there with my dog.” Uh-oh. Was it time to find my mother a “home?” I called my brother and we discussed her plan. We agreed that our mother was still sharp as a tongue, full of fire (and brimstone), and dare I say, “feisty” as ever. If that’s what she wanted—in spite of the fact that we thought she might also be crazy—this was her right.

A few weeks later she announced, “I sold my house.” Now all she had to do was find her dream home. That took some doing, but after living with my brother for two months, she finally found the one she wanted—a two-story, five-bedroom, three-bath house with a three-car garage. What in heaven’s name was she going to do with all that house?

Moving day arrived last weekend. Tom and I headed up to her new place, followed by our kids and their families, everyone eager to see Mom’s new “mansion”—and find out for ourselves if the woman had gone mad. She greeted us at the front porch with a beaming smile, then proudly showed us every inch of her new Tara. The house had all the latest amenities—granite counters, Jacuzzi tub, walk-in closets the size of my bedroom, on and on and on. I realized I was jealous of her new place and wondered if perhaps the house next door was also available at a third of the price of our current house. If we moved there, we’d never have to work again.

But why would my 84-year-old mother want to rattle around in such an oversized living space? She swept an arm around the room, indicating the spaciousness. “So my children and grandchildren can all come and stay. I’m only an hour away from you and your kids. And now I’ve got plenty of room for everyone.”

Call her feisty. Call her crazy. Call her anything you like. I call her Mom. And I want to be just like her when I grow up.


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January 4, 2010 at 12:54 AM  

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