Tag Archives: time passing

Gone 9 Years: A Toast to My Mom (Who is Definitely Not Digging My Present Attire)

xmas fam

My mom died nine years ago today, a few weeks shy of her 70th birthday.  Her own mom died at 69 also.  Even though I’m not a chain-smoker (since adolescence, you know, the norm back then) and keep (relatively) healthy, there’s not a doubt in my mind when my own 70th birthday is on my horizon I’ll be holding my breath on the way to that (obviously) momentous milestone.  I hear that’s a pretty profound moment in any child’s life.


69 is way too young.  Especially when you are (relatively) healthy (chain-smoking notwithstanding), still incredibly stylish, newly-retired and just returned from a 1st ever trip to Europe.  Really.  It’s just not fair.


69 is way too early.  Especially when your youngest grandchild is still a toddler and the whole slew of older ones are in the throes of expertly keeping your kids exasperated.  Damn, if you could only see them all now.  All 10 of them.  We were all together this past Christmas and man, your heart would’ve exploded with happiness and pride.  So unfair


69 is way too untimely.  You had finally mastered your flip phone but had barely tried texting.  Of course you’d still be watching Law and Order but I think you’d really like Netflix.


Funny, the things a daughter won’t forget.  When my sister and I had endless babies crying and walls of crayon and strewn cereal and crap everywhere …. you’d gently remind us to comb our hair before our husbands got home from work.  If you were here today you’d definitely be dissing my overalls and oy vey, would have never kept silent during my gal’s Free to Be You and Me unshaven armpits stage.  (I’d get the full blown disappointment; the granddaughter would get the hall pass.  Naturally.)


You made sure we never picked out a funky dish pattern because it was important how food looked on it.  It was also important that the food colors be pleasing to the eye (no carrots and sweet potato together—too much orange!).  Funny, I’ve never had anything but white dishes.  Just another little something that somehow stuck.


I think about all the nuggets of knowledge I gained from you during our not-long-enough time together.  Your little tolerance for self-pity.  Your tenacity to get things done, figure things out, keep moving forward.  My childhood friends still remember you in admiration, still shudder at the memory of your cool exterior and, always, still admit in amusement how nice it was to see you soften throughout the years.  You lived a tough life yet never let a series of unfortunate events define your path.


You taught me dogged determination.  And fierce loyalty.  And unwavering strength.  You showed me how to plow through obstacles and brush aside setbacks because, get over it, it’s not the end of the world.  It’s never as bad as someone else may have.


I miss her all the time but especially in the dog days of summer, when the bell tolls on the anniversary date.  All the memories of all those long days and nights come rushing in and the weight of all the what-might-have-beens is crushing.   The last hot night I spent with her in her home is seared into me.  When she fell on her way to bed and couldn’t lift herself up anymore I knew.  When I couldn’t lift her up all by myself either  I knew.  I held the phone and agonized, pausing before dialing because I knew.  I knew once I entered those digits and that ambulance arrived, my mom would never again step foot in her house again.


She never did.  And I’ve never forgotton the anguish of that decision.  Funny, the things a daughter  won’t forget.


Nine years.  A lifetime ago.  Back before all my kids were (gulp) grown-ups.  Back when I had a 10 year old.  And 12 year old.  And 16 year old.  And 17 year old.


I am no different than anyone else whose heart stays heavy over a lost loved one.  I feel her most days and talk to her more.  Usually just a quick Thanks, Mom when something goes right or a sarcastic Thanks Mom when a kid’s being a smartass.


I was talking with my sister recently and was having a bit of a moment.  I’d just found out I had qualified for a sizeable mortgage all on my own, without the need of a co-signer.  Just me.  I know, right?  Like I said, it was a moment.   I was trying to explain to her what that felt like.  I struggled finding the words.


“It’s like …” I began.


“…you’re Mom,” she finished.


My breath caught.




Yes, I suppose that could be true.


Cheers, Mom.  My hair’s combed and I’ve ditched the overalls today.  Just for you.  xoxo




Tina Drakakis blogs at Eyerollingmom and was featured in the 2014 Boston production of “Listen to Your Mother: Giving Motherhood a Microphone.” Her work has been featured in NPR’s “This I Believe” radio series yet she places “Most Popular 1984” on top of her list of achievements. (Next would be the home improvement reality TV show of 2003 but her kids won’t let her talk about that anymore). A witty mother of four, she takes on cyberspace as @Eyerollingmom on Twitter and Eyerollingmom on Facebook. and@Eyerollingmom on Instagram.


Missed the start of A Momoir? Catch up here:

Chapter 1, Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2017/07/29/a-collection-of-eyerolls-chapter-1-yes-billy-joel-we-will-all-go-down-together/

Chapter 2, Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2017/08/13/chapter-2-sometimes-kids-suck-a-lot/

Chapter 3, Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2017/09/22/chapter-3-sorry-were-tied-all-kids-are-filthy/

Chapter 4, Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2017/12/02/a-momoir-chapter-4-a-moms-plea-to-seth-rogen-enough-with-the-masturbation-already/

Chapter 5, Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2018/04/20/a-momoir-chapter-5-the-magnitude-of-the-middle-aged-mom/

Chapter 6: Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2018/08/24/a-momoir-chapter-6-im-not-always-like-you-mom-but-thats-okay/

Chapter 7: Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2018/12/01/a-momoir-chapter-7-hello-happiness-are-you-out-there-hello-hello/

Chapter 8: Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2019/06/14/a-momoir-chapter-7-high-school-graduation-my-big-fat-so-what/

Chapter 9: Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2019/08/12/a-momoir-chapter-9-parenting-horrific-behavior-would-you-know-could-you/

Chapter 10: Click here: A Momoir, Chapter 10: Coming Clean: The Art of Mastering Uncomfortable Conversations

Chapter 11: Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2020/02/22/a-momoir-chapter-11-how-many-back-in-my-days-until-you-officially-morph-into-your-mom/

Chapter 12: Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2020/03/17/a-momoir-chapter-12-when-a-teen-up-leaves/

Chapter 13:  Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2020/07/24/a-momoir-chapter-13-covid-edition-or-rather-still-not-skinny/



How Long is 3 Years? Any Mom Can Tell You


I lost my mom three years ago today and began marking the anniversary of her passing with some reflections about passing – time passing, that is.  Most people don’t notice time passing in any given day but Moms certainly do.


Moms get it.  We get it when we look down at our 8th graders and see hairy man legs.  Even though we’ve seen that gangly leg a zillion times it still halts our heartbeat for a second when we, you know, really see it.


We notice time passing when our 10th graders start sporting sideburns and facial hair and we realize we never even saw it coming.  One day it’s just, well, there.  When did that start? we wonder.  Geeze, we’d focused so intently on the deepening voice …


When the summer days start getting shorter moms become aware of time when our college coeds start gathering their things again.  Already?  Really?    We watched them whizzing around for a few weeks, burning the candle at both ends (a mirror image of ourselves so many years ago) and then poof, they’re gone again.


We moms also give a knowing nod to the slow passage of time when our oldest children – kinda sorta adults in the making — start paving their own paths through life with or without our gentle suggestions. Having to watch mistakes being made — then figured out — oddly enough causes time to stall a bit (insert nervous laughter from parents living with young adults).


It’s pretty easy to see how moms become acutely aware of time.


This past weekend a big group of friends and I took a ferry over to Provincetown and spent a spectacular summer day carousing in the sunshine (and, okay, perhaps a few bars, too).  It was a stunning day yet I had tiny moments of sadness throughout it because it dawned on me: the last time we all did this together was exactly three years ago.  I know this so well because it was the one lone day of fun I experienced that summer before spiraling down the heinous rabbit hole that was my mom’s cancer.


I used to phone her on the weekends to catch up, telling her all about the kids’ games or what I bought on sale that afternoon or any frolicking I’d done with my zany friends.  Sometimes I’d just pour a glass of wine and shoot the shit with her. She’d always turn down the volume on the Law and Order episode in the background and listen happily as I went on and on, blissfully content in the animated updates of my life with her beloved grandkids


That last ferry outing is seared into my memory because when I phoned her that evening to tell her all about it, for the very first time she was unable to keep up her end of our conversation.  She was frail and whispering and I remember hanging up and sobbing.  I knew:  she was fading away from me. Our special phone thing was never going to happen again. Within days I was back with her in New York, where I didn’t leave until her horrific ordeal was over, just weeks later.


I remember every moment of our final phone conversation.


156 weeks have flashed by and still my maternal awareness of time flares at the most unexpected times.


Today, the dynamic of my family is dramatically different than it used to be three years ago.  Now a household of teenagers and young adults, it is, if I’m being honest, a much lonelier place for me.  Mind you, it’s not a sad place – quite the contrary – it’s busier than ever and full of laughs (ahem, hilarious at times) and as chaotic as any other family of six usually is.  But as Dorothy Gale once said, “People come and go so quickly around here.”   That tends to happen in a household of primarily self-sufficient bodies.  Work schedules, college distance, school events, social commitments, you name it.  Family dinners are a rare occurrence now and more often than not there are nowhere near six people under the roof at any given time.


Everyone’s so busy they’re hardly ever here anymore.


So sometimes it just gets a little lonely when I remember about that pesky – and fleeting – time thing.


It makes me appreciate car rides.  And conversations.  And calendar pages with few markings on them.


And it makes me feel wickedly sneaky frying bacon for the sole purpose of waking teenage boys out of weekend slumbers.


And it makes me acutely aware that small moments are very, very good.


And  — without question — it makes me vow that forever … if I happen to get a phone call from one of my loves that is afar … I will turn down the volume of Law & Order and listen up.


And be very, very happy.


Just the way my mom was.






Tina Drakakis blogs at Eyerollingmom and was just featured in the Boston production of “Listen to Your Mother: Giving Motherhood a Microphone.” Her work has been featured in NPR’s “This I Believe” radio series yet she places “Most Popular 1984” on top of her list of achievements.  (Next would be the home improvement reality TV show of 2003 but her kids won’t let her talk about that anymore).   A witty mother of four, she takes on cyberspace as @Eyerollingmom on Twitter and Eyerollingmom on Facebook.