I’m told there are a great many benefits to having kids when you’re young, from having enough energy to keep up with them to still being vibrant and healthy when they move out. But there’s also a benefit to the adult child of young parents: having time to become friends.
My parents were 20 years old and 3 years into their marriage when I was born. When I headed off to college at 17, they were a young 37. And as I’ve gotten older, the age difference between us seems to get smaller and smaller. I absolutely treasure my relationship with my parents, and my mom is one of my very best friends.
This month marked her 60th birthday. After the events of last year, which included the hateful C word (cancer) and surgery and a far better C word (cured!), I’m struck by an overwhelming sense of how blessed I am for each and every day I get with her along with the sense that those days are ultimately finite. That’s true for all of us, I know, but I’m feeling it more acutely with my parents these days. So I was determined we’d do something big to celebrate this milestone.
I asked what memory she’d like to make this year. “Jersey Boys,” she told me. “I want to see Jersey Boys with you, live on stage.”
I started digging into their National Tour information and quickly discovered it wasn’t going to work. “We should just go to NYC to see them,” I texted her in sarcastic frustration. Her response was almost immediate: “How much are flights?”
Mom and I have talked for years about taking a trip together. It’s always been, “Someday, we should…” But there’s something about cancer that makes you drop the word someday from your vocabulary. The doctors say she’s cancer-free, but that might not always be the case. Cancer reminds you there’s no guarantee you’ll get someday.
So screw someday. Let’s make it today.
With the love, support, and generosity of our Jim’s – my husband, Jim, and my father, Jim – we booked flights on Virgin Airlines from Love Field to LaGuardia. I found a reasonably good deal on a Times Square hotel through Orbitz. And I ordered a pair of tickets to the Friday night show of Jersey Boys at the August Wilson Theatre.
We’re here until Monday afternoon, and even if we don’t do anything else but relax in our hotel room, our trip has been an unmitigated success. Last night’s show was everything Mom hoped it would be “…and then some!”
As for me, I’m savoring every moment we have together, capturing images with both my camera and my mind. I’ll always remember the way her face lit up when she saw the theatre with its red-and-white marquee. The warm press of her arm against mine as she swayed to “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You”. The glow of happiness on her face as the house lights came up. And the sound of her singing, “Oh What A Night” as we traipsed back to our hotel.
Oh What A Night, indeed.