My mom was born on on a day, somewhere in the Vancouver area. At least, I’m pretty sure of the location. She was the youngest out of five children, and grew up in Surrey, BC. Back then, Surrey wasn’t the sprawling suburb of Vancouver it is today. Back then, it was a much smaller place. She’s told me and my brothers about growing up with four older siblings, how my grandfather brewed root beer and put it in real beer bottles so it looked like they were all punks, the time one of my uncle’s set her leg on fire, the infamous ‘Bleach smells amazing story’. A bunch of laughs, funny moments and inside jokes from her childhood
Here’s the strange thing. Even though my mother has told me a ton of stories about her past, how she met my father, moving from Surrey, to Kamploops, to Revelstoke, and then finally to Golden, I never really knew my mother. I’m not sure many people do. If you were like me, then once you left the nest, you might only see your mother a few times a year, mostly at holidays. Even though you’re an adult now, you’re still the kid and she’s still the mom. And that the way it was, for over a decade after I left home. Until recently.
I quit my job last year, decided to hang up my scales and give up the drafting game for good. I wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to do, but the first plan was to go back to Golden, stay a month or two, wait for a couple of final checks, then go traveling. I ended up staying four months.
First, the checks rolling in were taking their sweet time in getting to me. That was definitely one of the bigger reasons for sticking around. There was another big life change. My mother, within the first week or so of my arrival, put the house up for sale. The house I grew up in. The house that my parents had purchased back in 1991. A house that accumulated 25 years of stuff you normally accumulate after owning a house for 25 years. The house ended up selling within a couple of weeks.
When she told me the house was going up for sale, I honestly didn’t think much of it. House can take months, if not years to sell. Selling a house is a pain in the ass, mind you. The place needs to be spotless every time a potential buyer stops by to have a look. Which means that every time you have someone looking at the house, you end up having to clean the floors, wash the walls, vacuum, dust, and do the washrooms. Every. Single. Time. But we made it happen.
When she told me the house had sold and we need to start packing, I was stunned. Here I was, on a bit of a vacation, and now I was put in charge of packing, selling and moving a massive house. Five bedrooms, two living rooms, and a large workshop needed to be bagged, tagged and shipped to a new place. At this point, I still hadn’t really dealt with my father’s death, and packing up his stuff hit me pretty hard. There were a number of moments where I started welling up and had to go for a walk to regain my composure. But we made it happen.
The place we were renting was also up for sale, but we didn’t think much of it, as it had been on the market for a year and a half. After being in the new place, we found out it had sold. We were both pretty sick of moving at this point, so my mother threw caution to the wind and bought another place, a much smaller place, and we ended up moving again.
Through all of this, after two moves and three months of living together, my mom stopped being my mom all the time and was now more like my roommate Kathy. This may sound weird, but I actually got to meet Kathy for the first time. Truth be told, my mother is one of the best roommates I have ever had. She doesn’t party all that much, cleans up after herself, and all her friends seem pretty chill.
Jokes aside, I love my mother. But last year I got to find out that I actually like my mother. My mom is a cool person to hang out with. If she gave me a phone call and said she had two tickets to Europe, I’d go with her in a heart beat. Even at my age, that still seems rare that you know your mom as something other than mom. So maybe I’m luckier than most.
If you have the opportunity to give your mother a phone call or, even better, a hug, go do that. Life’s too short as it is. Not everyone is lucky to have their mom still around, and some peoples relationship with their mother is estranged. I count my good fortune that my mom is still around to talk to. Not only that, but my mom is someone I can go have a patio beer with on a hot summer’s day and we can both find ourselves laughing our asses off.
Cheers Mom. Love you tons!
The Illustrious Mr. Charlton
p.s. Yes mom, if you haven’t noticed, the language on this blog is a lot cleaner than the last one. Everybody has to grow up eventually.
p.s.s. I finish SpaceX tomorrow!
p.s.s.s. Post was edited to remove the day and location of my mom’s birth. Can’t have scammers stealing identities!