Friday, February 27, 2004


We did a nice thing this week: we surprised my mother by Fed Ex'ing her a round-trip ticket to spend her 70th birthday with us here in the islands. She was VERY surprised. I'd been trying to think of some big-ticket item we could buy for her for her milestone birthday, but anyone who knows my mother will tell you that if there's one thing she doesn't need, it's more stuff. Then it occurred to me to switch my thinking from big-ticket item to just a big ticket.

Because of distance, my mother and I have had very little time together--just the two of us--in the last decade. We talk frequently on the phone, and they're sometimes lengthy conversations. It's not that we don't stay in touch--it's that we haven't had the kind of in-person contact that most have with their parents over an extended period of time. She came to Portland to spend her 65th birthday with us, so it seemed only fitting that she would spend her 70th with us. What finally made the light bulb go off was opening a little C.A.R.E. package she'd recently sent us. Tucked inside a notecard was a bag of French tea. The note said that she wished we could be together to have a cup of tea and talk about life the way we used to.

My mother has what she calls "a vision challenge." She visited us here once before, with my brother and his family for Thanksgiving in 2002. She fell in love with our neighborhood beach--said it became her "favorite beach in the world." She arrives Memorial Day weekend (her birthday's in early June) and I plan to take the following week off from work, so I'll have nine uninterrupted days with her. As far as I'm concerned, she (we) can spend every damn one of those days at that beach, if that makes her happy.

She lives in a picturesque small town in Northern California. They had snow this week. I sent her the tickets three months early not only so she could have plenty of time to plan her life around the travel dates, but also because I thought it might make her cold winter a little more tolerable to know she had a tropical vacation coming up soon.

Mom lives alone and on Social Security. She recently decided she would save all of her quarters and earmark that money as her "travel fund." She had finally saved $20 in quarters and gone to her neighborhood bank to exchange them for a $20 bill. She had that $20 bill in her hand and was looking for someplace to store it to begin her "travel fund"...when the Fed Ex guy knocked on her door. Just one more example of how when we take action to put our dreams into motion, the universe has all kinds of surprises in store for us.


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