I haven’t lived at home since I was 18.
I’m 50 now, so that’s a heck of a long time. I left for college and never returned. I haven’t even lived in the same time zone as my family since I turned 21. I don’t talk to either of my parents daily on the phone, although these days I do instant-message them quite frequently.
Now things are about to change. Me and dear-ol’ mom are gonna be living 1.5 miles apart in Zihuatanejo, Mexico!
Regarding the mother-daughter thing, we’ve always gotten along just fine (with a few tense moments in between), and I’m excited to be living in the same town as her, but I’m also kinda nervous. While mom is pretty easygoing, we now have a lot of territory to negotiate. Will it be rough or easy going? Frankly, I’m not sure either of us know.
She’s got a full social life in Zihuatanejo, since she’s been coming here for four, five or six months at a time for more than 25 years. She has plenty of friends and knows the lay of the land well.
Am I going to cramp her style? Will she feel like she has to invite me to the hottest social soirees in town? If I’ve got nothing to do, while Andy is working remotely at his copy-editing gig, for example, can I just pop over and hang out with her for a few hours? Will she feel free to do the same with us?
And finally, how is Andy going to feel about his mother-in-law being front-and-center?
To help address the tip of this iceberg, I decided it would be fun to submit some questions to mother and present them in a Q&A format on my blog.
Readers, meet Helene Last (aka mom). She’s funny, easygoing and loves Mexico as much as I do (though she would claim she loves it more). Her favorite drinks are water and Don Julio tequila (Don Julio 1942, to be specific … the expensive stuff). She loves eating meat, having fun, being nice to animals and Facebook. She also likes making jewelry.
So without further ado:
Question. What is your favorite mother-daughter activity?
Answer. Just hanging out, really nothing specific.
Stacey’s Spin Zone: I like getting manicures and pedicures with her, and going to our favorite ocean resort, Las Palmas. I’m also hoping she might want to take a weekly yoga class with me or do something excercise-related activities, like walk and stretch in her pool.
Q. What concerns do you have about Stacey and Andy moving to Zihuatanejo?
A. I have concerns as to how you will adjust to life there, because I know you have a tendency to be impatient and that will not work well there.
Spin Zone: I think this is a very legit concern. I can sometimes be impatient, and mom is oh-so-wise, as impatience does not work well in Mexico. But since we arrived on May 1 and have been traveling around to different cities, I’ve had five months to train and I’ve made great strides. But more practice time would behoove me.
Q. Are you worried about Stacey and Andy cramping your style, since you know so many people in Zihuatanejo and already have a life there?
A. I am not concerned at all about you cramping my style. You’ re always welcome to join in and when I don’t want you join in , I will tell you.
Spin Zone: I hope this holds true for us both. While my feelings might be a bit bruised, I think this will serve us well in the long run. There will be times when Andy and I want to enjoy “date night” or just spend time alone, so we’re really going to have to try to be honest with one another about our needs in this area. I suspect it won’t always be easy —but it will be very necessary.
Q. Do you think mothers should call their kids before “popping over” to their houses? What’s your opinion on this?
A. Yes, I think parents should always call before popping in.
Spin Zone: “That’s good,” says Andy. Me too. Calling is the adult thing to do.
Q. Do you want Stacey and Andy to call before coming over, or is “popping over” acceptable?
A. Popping in on me is always accepted unless I have a gentleman caller. LOL.
Spin Zone: Gentleman caller?! OMG. Mom in her unmentionables with Enrique? I would die of embarrassment! Need I say more? I’m gonna call, text and IM!!! But seriously, dropping by her place unannounced is an unlikely scenario because she lives in the oppsosite direction of downtown and the supermarket, and beyond the best beach. However, she does have to drive right past our front door to get to the center of town or the supermarket, so it’s likely she will “pop by” our house (announced) house for a visit.
Q. How many times/days a week do you want to see Stacey? Any pre-expectations?
A. I want to see you every day.
Spin Zone: Gulp. Gulp. Sh_t. #&@*! While I am definitely not opposed to seeing my birther every day, it’s not what I was anticipating. I was thinking maybe four or five times a week? Andy was thinking one or two days for him, OK maybe three (he is, after all, a rugged individualist). I guess we’re going to have to play this one by ear. One thing I am really looking forward to is a weekly “Sunday night sleepover” at Helene’s digs. Already agreed upon is that we’re all going to have dinner together on Sunday night (hopefully with me doing the cooking). Then on Monday morning, Andy will arise and work for J. from her kick-ass balcony with a killer view of Zihuatanejo Bay. And while Andy is bringing home the kosher bacon, I hope to join my mom at her favorite beachfront restaurant and play me some dominoes.
Q. Are you worried about feeling like a third wheel?
A. I might feel like a third wheel if you are with your friends. I wouldn’t want to cramp your style.
Spin Zone: So far I have no style, and no established circle of friends in Zihuatanejo, so this scenario might not occur for a long time!
Q. What will be the best thing about having your daughter and son-in-law living so close to you?
A. Being alone now in Zihuatanejo and having my kids there is a big comfort factor.
Spin Zone: My stepfather, Morris, died last December. He loved Mexico so much, and he and my mom always looked forward to coming for five months. After he died, my mom wasn’t 100 percent sure she would want to come on her own. I tried to convince her that it would be OK, and that her friends would look after her and support her. She came on her own last year, for a shortened stay, and reported great success. I’m happy we can support one another if we need anything. I know she’s concerned about her health and mine. She was diagnosed with breast cancer the same week that I got diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and having cancer at the same time brought us even closer. We supported one another during our respective treatments (radiation for her, 18 weeks of chemo for me), and it was a very special time in our mother-daughter relationship.
Q. What other things do you want readers of the blog to know?
A. I want everyone to know how special you and Pam are to me and how much I appreciate and love you. This includes Andy and Paul. You all have been so special and so kind and caring. I couldn’t ask for better children.
Spin Zone: Pam is my younger sister and Paul is her husband. And as dear ol’ mom is not one who is overly, or at least overtly, sentimental, I was very touched to read this heartfelt reply. Love you too, mom!
Stay tuned for the drama of two-chicks take Zihuatanejo.