I just returned from my whirlwind trip to visit Mom for her 80th birthday- I drove down to her place in northern Virginia straight from work, and drove straight up to work, with a brief stop at the supermarket to buy something for dinner and milk for workplace coffee. Special thanks go to my coworker Tim, who worked a double shift so I could pull this visit off.
Mom, at 80, is a marvel... she walks six miles a day, and is strong and vital. She's sharp as a tack, a voracious reader and crossword puzzle aficianada (her pet peeve is that the WaPo Saturday puzzle is too pop-culture oriented). Here's a candid photo of Mom, snapped as she was discussing how the largest of her three avocado plants, grown from pits (she has one germinating in a coffee mug now), had just recently exceeded her in height:
Yep, that's a picture of an 80 year old... would you care to challenge her to an arm-wrestling match?
Throughout the day, my siblings called to pay their respects, as did several nieces and nephews. A beloved neighbor, who I think Mom loves because they share the same devotion to family, and a avid gardeners, showed up with a bouquet- it was nice to place a face with the name.
We had a couple of cold Coronas (she is having work done on the house and always 'tips' the laborers with a cold beer at the end of the workday) and a Chesapeake area appropriate meal of crabcakes, and just shot the breeze all day while the phone periodically rang with a call from her legion of well wishers. We talk a few times a week on the phone, but that is no substitute for hanging out in person.
Mom is planning on visiting my brother Vincenzo and the grandkids some time around Labor Day, and will, without doubt, make other travel plans now that restrictions have been relaxed and everybody in the family is getting vaccinated (still a bit early for some of the younger grandkids). 2020 was hard on this very sociable lady, so she will make up for a lost year.
For me, the visit was too short, but it was a must-do, I couldn't let my mom spend her 80th birthday alone. I mean, who was going to help her drink a couple of cold cervezas? I'll be dragging my ass for a few days, but my heart is soaring.