Audrey most definitely got her entrepreneurial spirit from her Dad and her paternal grandmother, Flo… but her passion for fashion? That came directly through the genetic circuits and threads, so to speak, of my Mom, Rita. Even at almost 85, my Mom’s love of fashion keeps her closets veritable stock piles of garments. She loves all colors and most fabrics, she meticulously matches each outfit, including her jewelry and her shoes… and she always looks beautiful and lovely and adorable. I remember, even as a very little girl, going into my Mom’s closets and feeling her sense for fashion. My Mom can shop all day, and she can sense a clothing sale from another continent.
It is this shared love of fashion, this fashion bond, that makes my Mom’s eyes sparkle with joy when Audrey invites her to shop. This past Tuesday, Audrey called my Mom to invite her on a little adventure to shop for Audrey’s upcoming trip to Los Angeles and the People’s Choice Awards. Audrey couldn’t reach my Mom, even after several calls… and this is unusual because my Mom has a very regular schedule of things she does and she always lets me know what she is doing and when she’s doing it. Audrey called me… and this added to the panic that I was beginning to feel because I could not reach her either. I had called. I had emailed. I had left messages. For a couple of hours. My Mom lives in a senior housing complex, and on a couple of occasions the manager has called to let me know that my Mom wasn’t on the morning bus that goes to the market, the senior center or the hairdresser… but I hadn’t heard from the manager that morning.
I felt a little better. But not better better. At noon, I asked Audrey to come to my Mom’s apartment with me… and she arranged for babysitting. I needed Audrey. I almost couldn’t think. Audrey kept calling, but no answer. My Mom has hearing aids for her severe hearing loss, but she always wears her hearing aids during the day. My mind raced. I don’t remember much about parking the car or heading up the stairs or forgoing the elevator for the stairs to the 4th floor. All I remember is how quiet everything seemed. Audrey and I walked to my Mom’s door and I quietly unlocked her door with my key. Audrey couldn’t come in. She just couldn’t. I understood. I tiptoed in… and I saw my Mom’s little sneakers and her walker and her grocery cart. No lights were on. It was so very quiet. I tiptoed around the corner and into her bedroom. My Mom was in bed. In the dark. In the middle of the day. My mind raced with every thought, every memory, every fear… I bent very close and whispered, “Mom?”
My Mom opened her eyes and looked up at me. I could have cried a river. A waterfall. An ocean of relief. But I composed myself. I had to. I asked, “What’s the matter?” And she answered in a tiny voice, “I have the worst headache. I just needed to rest.”
Audrey heard my Mom’s voice and she came into the room. We sat on each side of the bed and asked her where it hurt and how long it hurt and how long she’d been in bed and if she’d eaten anything… and she patiently tried to answer our questions. I asked if she wanted me to call her physician or take her to the emergency room. She shook her head, emphatically, no. She asked what we were doing there in the middle of the day… and Audrey said that she had wanted to take her shopping for her clothes for Los Angeles and the People’s Choice Awards. My Mom perked up a bit… yes, she did. She said that she didn’t have the strength with her headache, but she asked all about what Audrey needed and wanted and where she was going to shop. You know, the fashion thing…
Audrey told her all about the Red Carpet event and that she needed a fabulous dress for it. My Mom smiled.
We did talk my Mom into getting up and having a little soup and toast and juice and medication… and we talked all about Audrey’s trip. I could see the color coming back into my Mom’s cheeks with all the excitement of this adventure. After a little while, we helped my Mom get back into bed… tucked her in, and I said that I’d be back in a little while.
Audrey and I did shop. We found fabulous things and fabulous sales. And we thought about my Mom the whole time.
When Barry and I went back to my Mom’s apartment a while later, her sneakers and walker and shopping cart were still in the same spots… but I didn’t have that helpless feeling. I could hear my Mom’s rhythmic breathing and it gave me comfort. I again tiptoed into her bedroom and bent down. I whispered, “Mom, I’m back.”
She opened her eyes. She saw me. She asked, without a second’s hesitation, “Did Audrey get her dress?”
Ah… Audrey and my Mom. Cut from the same cloth. And I love it this way.