that fall i'd started a grad class. with teaching full time and mommying the rest of the time, I worked on grad work early, early in the morning and late, late at night. that didn't leave much time for anything else. Saturday mornings I studied, went to my kids' basketball games, grocery shopped, cleaned, and relaxed some.
I didn't visit my parents much.
with the holidays coming up, we decorated some, and did take the time to go with my parents to get a Christmas tree.
after thanksgiving my mom kept asking about driving to Lambeau Field in Green Bay, WI to shop for gifts for my sons. she'd desperately wanted to get my oldest a real football helmet. I kept putting it off. I hated leaving my kids on the weekend. this is the same reason I rarely went for lunch or manicures and pedicures with my mom. working full-time left me with mommy guilt and I liked to spend every second I could with them.
I always figured i'd have time with my mom when they got older and didn't need me as much.
finally, that December, I took a few hours and went to Lambeau with my mom. we picked out gifts for ourselves that the other one bought and kept to wrap for Christmas morning. I bought a Packer purse for her and she bought Packer ear muffs for me since I have outdoor recess duty in frigid Wisconsin. i'd thought it would be nice to have lunch together, but after having been gone for a few hours already, felt that tug to get back home to my boys.
so, we didn't have lunch and we simply drove home.
as I drove across the highway overpass nearing the turnoff to her street, she said, "at least I have presents for the boys now in case I die before Christmas." I don't remember my exact response, but it was something like, "what? Mom, knock it off." I did tell my dad about her comment a few weeks later, but he brushed it off too.
what had she known that she never told us?
Christmas eve came and we spent it at my aunt's with my mom's whole family as usual. I took selfies with my mom and also my grandma. I remember thinking that it may be the last pictures with my grandma. I don't remember thinking that about my mom.
I make picture calendars through shutterfly for myself and my parents every year. as I put them together that November, I remember feeling nostalgic about one picture in particular, one of my kids with my mom. I knew somehow that that picture would be cherished, special someday.
I didn't know how very close that someday was getting, how quickly it would be here.
the day after Christmas was the day we always went to my parents for brunch and to exchange gifts. my youngest was puking and so was my husband. I went with my other two sons and we made the best of it. we ate my mom's amazing quiche and pancakes. Mom and I exchanged the ear muffs and purse--surprise! and she was ecstatic to give Grant his helmet. my husband texted that he and Sawyer were both puking at the same time and I needed to go home to help. Sawyer had just turned three and he was still in the habit of walking from carpet spot to carpet spot to puke. we needed to chase him with a garbage can.
that was my last Christmas with my mom.
I don't think she ever used that purse, and now it's in my closet.