I’ll start with my son, Erik. He calls me several times a day, and sometimes he's the only person I talk to on a given day. I’ve never been good at making phone calls — just ask my own mom. I don’t even call her very often. But Erik has stepped up as the man of the family and it really is nice to hear his voice every day, checking on me to be sure all is well. (Sometimes he is calling for money, but he doesn’t start the conversation with that!) He also comes home almost every weekend. I do realize it might be more about his friends and the fun things to do in Chicago, but still. Now that I am living alone it is so nice to have him and his friends around.
Erik and I share a love of shopping, football, and cooking — well, eating might be the real love. We have been having fun discovering new places to dine in Chicago. On St. Patrick’s Day we had a fun night dancing. I can thank his godmother for teaching him to dance. (”Just move your shoulders!”) Ever since that night I’ve been asking him when he is going to ask that cute nursing student for a date. Hey, sometimes we need a little help from our friends.
My daughter Annika is not only my favorite travel companion, but our shared interests in sushi, 5K’s, sangria, pineapples, and Netflix means we always have something fun to do when we are together. When she joined the same sorority as me, our shared sisterhood gave us another opportunity to share something we both value.
Annika and I are both quiet and we have a common talent in communicating well in writing. I love getting letters from her and we share a journal that we pass back and forth. When we are together we really enjoy each other’s company, whether we are drinking Sangria in the south of Spain or watching This is Us and crying over our similar loss.
Our relationships with each other definitely changed with the death of their father. As I have relied on my children to help me make decisions regarding the details of Rick’s funeral and the sale of our home, my children have been thrust into adult conversations that normally occur later in life. It’s like I have shifted some of my husband’s “friend” duties to them. My closest friends are there for me in good times and in bad and my children are no exception.
Having these two in my life is my greatest blessing. Over the past year I have dreaded certain holidays and I know Father’s Day will be bittersweet, particularly for Annika and Erik. But I am truly looking forward to this Mother’s Day grilling steaks and drinking sangria with my two best friends.