In A Nutshell
by REBECCA CHAISSON
“Becca, your mom’s in the hospital,” my stepdad said over the phone Thursday. “She doubled over and I had to take her to the emergency room.”
And in that moment, time stood still.
“My mom is too strong to be sick,” I thought.
She was fine earlier when I called her and asked if she cooked something for lunch.
And now she’s in the emergency room? Oh how life can change in a moment.
Suddenly, many simple moments flashed through my mind about why I need my mother here with me.
Like the time I won state in the javelin during my junior year. My mom took me to Taco Bell to celebrate. I still remember what she told the cashier, even though that was 15 years ago:
“My daughter is a state champion,” Mom told the stranger with a smile.
That cashier didn’t care; but my mom sure did because she was proud of me. More importantly, she wanted me to be proud of myself. My mother has helped me celebrate every one of my achievements. I don’t think she’s ever noticed any of my failures.
My mother has always cared about both of her kids with every ounce of her being. That’s why she never missed a basketball game, softball game, track meet, awards banquet or field trip. If we wanted her there, she was there. If we didn’t want her there – like at the school dance or a first date – she was there anyway because she knew we needed her to be.
When I started college, guess who took me on a tour of the facility. Mom did. We got lost together. Then she paid for some of my books when I announced I was too cheap to invest in literature for the boring classes. Like math.
When I bought my first car, mom was there to remind me that a sports car goes fast, but it also costs more for insurance.
When I moved out of her house for the first time to move in with a boy she never liked, she helped me move in with him. And when he broke my heart, she helped me move back in with her. She also stole his light bulbs, curtains and toothpaste on the way out, just for good measure.
A few years later, she helped me purchase my first piece of property by putting her name on the loan. Then she cut the grass – all four acres of it – for the next three years because I couldn’t afford to buy my own lawnmower.
When I bought my first house, she helped me pick it out, told me it was out of my budget range, and then helped me make it a home anyway because I knew it was the one I wanted.
When I fell and broke my hip two years ago, I called mom. She cussed me for being an idiot. And then she came over and doctored me for being HER idiot. Most patients lose weight after hip surgery; I’m pretty sure I gained a pound or two thanks to Mom’s tender loving care – and rice and gravy.
I’m 30 years old now and my mom still has a key to my house. And whether I want her there or not, sometimes I come home to a clean kitchen, folded clothes and a note that says, “You need to take out your trash more often. Mom.”
As if she needed to leave a note. I knew it was her. It’s always been her. It will always be her.
My mom is my best friend. I never told her that because I assumed she always knew.
But when you’re on the phone with a concerned stepfather because your mom is sick, you can only wonder. Does she really know?
I put my memories on pause and drove to the hospital, where I found my mom resting on a stretcher in the ER hallway.
“The doctor said it’s a kidney stone, and it’s stuck,” Mr. Eddie advised. “They are going to give her some medicine to make the pain go away.”
I looked down at Mom; she looked up at me and said with unconditional love:
“No, Rebecca, you can’t have my Carrie Underwood concert tickets for this weekend. I’m still going to that concert. My doctor already said I could if I was dumb enough to …”
Idiot, yes. But she’s MY idiot.
I grabbed Mom’s hand and whispered into her ear.
“Good news Mother. This too shall pass.”
In a nutshell, Mom is okay. Physically, I mean.
In fact, as this column is being written, my mother is probably enjoying her Carrie Underwood concert, wondering if anyone cares that she’s not home.
When she gets home, she’ll find this column waiting on her kitchen table, minus a loaf of bread that I needed to borrow.
And in the bread’s place will be a note that reads, “Hey Mom. You need to take out your trash more often. Becca.”
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