My Step-Father died about 2 months ago. Which means my Mom is transitioning from being with the same person for 30+ years to being a “single person”. You see, my Mom was a single Mom off and on when she was raising my Brother and me. She was the epitome of strong. She had multiple jobs to make ends meet and focused on making sure we stayed “out of trouble”. For us, that meant no hanging out in parking lots, no trolling the mall, no going somewhere without a purpose! It also meant, going to the Palmer and Monroe Community Center after school and when we outgrew that, well, then it meant get straight home by walking or on the bus. The point was, no good came from hanging around without a purpose!
While my Mom was married, she was still strong, but it was different. She was strong in love and being a fantastic Grandma. But she was able to let someone else “take care of her”. Thank God my brother still lives in Tallahassee and watches over her. He’s done so since I moved away in 1989. He’s the steady one for my Mom… As we all adjust to Mom being single, we’re calling more, worrying more, and thinking more about how to get her through. But here’s the surprise…. She’s thriving and kicking ass! She’s bought a house, had some work done on it to make it all hers and is now in the process of coordinating her move. Meanwhile, we’re transitioning to living full-time in our RV.
It’s ironic that Mom and Roger and I are transitioning our lives at the same time. This has meant we have common struggles, highs and lows. We commiserate about what to keep (do you really need all of those leftover containers?). We lament about what to do with the family stuff that has so many memories, yet what will we really do with the stuff in 5 years, 10 years? Mom and I joke that she has to throw some of her “stuff” away now, because I’ll certainly throw it away later! I’m donating souveniers that I bought one year ago to Goodwill, everyone remember this when you buy that souvenier! As we go through this transition together, for very different reasons, we’ve found an even stronger bond. And, I didn’t really think that was possible!
Roger and I have been driving for 6 days to get to Florida and “help Mom”. The reality is that she doesn’t really need the help… but we’ll feel better being there! The full time RV lifestyle allows us to live wherever we want/need to. And now, we want to be in Florida, yes, in July, to help Mom.
We follow a general rule we learned about that says drive 330 miles or be at each destination by 3:30. It’s actually worked well. We’re about to get to a location, set up and enjoy some down time before we go again the next day. Tomorrow we pull into Tallahassee. It’s awesome we can be there and watch Mom in the next phase of life. As we stay focused on Florida, it’s the drive, it’s the family time, it’s the shift in lifestyle and the hope for everything that comes next!