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Opinion | Fulfilling Mom’s Dream of Watching a Solar Eclipse


Although her body was broken, her mother was still the experienced person. She left home at the age of 18 to go to a university thousands of miles away, and traveled to the Middle East alone, never seeing a ship. do not love.

Today, my mother can barely walk and relies on a scooter to get around. Her back was so damaged by osteoporosis and an unsuccessful surgery that she had pain sleeping, standing or sitting. But she remains the same stubborn and determined person. Always. Years ago, that meant going to law school at age 40, traveling the world as a divorced single woman, and starting a career as I approached my 50th birthday. Now when we mentioned we were “taking” her to see the eclipse from our homes in Massachusetts and California.

“I decided to go, so I went,” she told us. Words like “submissive” and “rule-abiding” are not usually used to describe our mothers. That wasn’t the case when she was a girl in Catholic school, and it’s definitely not the case now with her adult children.

As for us, we don’t always feel like dutiful children. Of course we send flowers on Mother’s Day and her birthday. We tried to talk to my mother at least once a week, but we also often argued over political issues. In those moments we told her she had lost her mind and she wondered aloud what was wrong with her raising us. Although we visited her every Thanksgiving and Christmas, we had never spent a vacation together as adults. The daily demands of work and our own children long ago got in the way, and those shouting matches have worn out. It’s easy to hang up. But it’s much harder to stop uncomfortable conversations at the dinner table.

Still, it took us over a year to make arrangements to escort her to this natural phenomenon. Since last spring we have booked flights, rental cars, and wheelchair accessible rentals. Best of all, we at Baylor University in Waco were able to accommodate my mom’s needs while providing us with the best opportunity to view the eclipse under clear skies. We asked organizers a lot of questions about aisles, bathrooms, seating, and parking, and a representative responded via email: “I can see you put a lot of thought into making this happen for your mom.” It was a lot of planning, but then my mom (and dad) did the same thing for four kids. Our childhood was filled with trips to visit presidential birthplaces, Thomas Edison’s workshop, Civil War battlefields, the U.S. Mint and more. Now, like many people in their 40s and 50s, we have reversed roles.



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