Monday, July 22, 2013

The Gift of a Story

I called my mom on my break at work today. I felt we really needed to discuss the royal baby happenings. Luckily she was awake and 'with it' enough to know what was going on. It was a short conversation, but it was good. I made plans to go see her on Thursday and I'm crossing my fingers that it's a good visit.

My mom was always a great story teller. She has been telling the same stories to me for forever and I really never get sick of hearing them. I always used to be amazed by how much she could remember, how many details she put into her stories, and a lot of times her own brothers and sister would call her if they couldn't remember a certain time or event exactly how it had happened. Her stories are always true, about people we know, but she has such an authentic way of telling them and keeping you interested.

Her top favorites to tell me are about the day I was born and where I was conceived (note to anyone reading, there is absolutely no reason why any child should know this) about this second story, when I protest to the telling of it I usually give a “Ew, mom, I don't want to know,” and she calls me a prude- anyone else find that funny?

I would say her third favorite is telling me about how she hoped I would marry Prince William one day. You see my mom was pregnant with me when Princess Diana was pregnant with her first child. My mom usually says she was in the living room folding laundry, eight months pregnant, when the news broke that the Heir to the Throne was born. 

Then she'll say “And I thought, how wonderful would it be if my baby girl could marry a prince one day?”

Then I have to burst her bubble.

Me: “But you didn't know I was a girl.”
Mom: “I KNEW it, I could just FEEL it.”
Me: “Lies. You had a boy's name picked out too. You had no idea I was a girl.”
Mom: “You had to be a girl, God's not that mean.” (She had my two brothers by then who were 3 and 6 and were apparently driving her nuts).

I was thinking about this story that she has told me so many times. And really is it any wonder that I turned out the hopeless romantic I am? My mom stayed up all night to watch Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding, she again says she was folding laundry- I'm calling bullshit on the laundry part, the woman never folded laundry. Then when William married Kate we both recorded it and watched parts of it on the phone together. So when I heard about the royal birth getting underway, I needed to call my mom.

Here's the thing. I have always been very close to my mom. She used to brag to her friends that I never went through a rebellious phase, we barely fought (believe me, when there were fights they were EPIC, but they were seldom), and I talked to her about everything. This was all true. Especially when I was away at college, I used to talk to her over instant messenger, we talked every single day.

Lately, our relationship has been strained. She's had a lot of different health problems over recent years and I don't feel like she is the same person anymore. I used to want to call her and I always had things to talk to her about. Now I make myself call her and we are lucky if we are on the phone for five minutes. Most of the time I will hang up and cry. I cry if I call and she's having a bad day, because this is not my mother, who is this woman? I cry if I call and she seems normal because it makes me sad that she is rarely herself anymore.

Sometimes she will still tell stories. If we are on the phone and she jumps into one- even if I have heard it a billion times, even if I need to get off the phone, even if it is that wretched Conception Story- I listen. Because this is my mom, the mom that I miss, and the mom I will always remember.


  1. Wow Casey. There are so many things in your story I can relate to. My eldest son was born on July 24. While I didn’t want him to marry the prince I did want him to be born on the same day. I know you are cherishing your Mom while she’s alive and I guess that’s all you can do. I bet she still has lots of stories left yet to tell, even ones you probably don’t want to hear. Your Mom sounds like a real character :)

  2. I love this, Casey. Stories are how we can connect with each other, hold onto that connection, and remember why we stay in contact with people. I wonder if you can share stories with her?

    Good for you for making the most that you can.

  3. Your mom has obviously passed her precious gift of story telling on to you! What a poignant post. Beautifully written.

  4. Thanks ladies. I almost didn't share- a little bit emotional for me. But then I thought I don't censor myself on the sex stuff so why censor myself because something is emotional? Thanks for commenting, it's nice to have friends :)

  5. Hey Casey, I understand and can relate completely. I love my mom and I know you do too but over the last years she's become sadder, letting more negativity into her life and hearing it kind of sucks me in. When I go back for visits, about 2 days before the actual flight, I get very nervous, can't eat, all of it.

    I had a teacher once tell me to 'meet her where she is'. I haven't been able to do that yet but am still trying. I do love her and want to accept her as she is and just love her, but it's not easy.

    As for the stories, I love that part. My kids love to hear stuff about themselves and I have some notebooks I keep for them although I'm not very good at writing in them these days. I think that is a gift, a real gift. And if you figure out how to meet her where she is, let me know, will you?


  6. Thanks Natasha. Meet her where she is, that is good advice. I am trying, trying, trying to just be patient and take it all for what it is. But usually end up getting defensive or emotional and it never ends well for anyone. I'll let you know how it goes for me.