The phone rang last January. It was Bobby calling about his mom.
“Babe,” he said. “She’s in Kansas City.”
“Visiting?” I asked. A weird bit of news, considering his mom, Barb, lives in Jacksonville, Fla.
“No, she’s coming with a U-haul truck.”
“What? What do you mean?”
A long pause ensued. I knew what it meant. Bobby’s mom was moving in, again.
In the seven years that we’ve been together, she had done this four times before. She decides she doesn’t like her living arrangements, so she packs up, lives with us for a few months, then returns to Florida.
Like many people we love, she brings mixed emotions. And I never really know where I stand with her.
Barb is an independent, no-nonsense woman with a barely 5-foot frame and boisterous personality. A pit-bull in a Yorkie-Poo’s body. A retiree with time and money to spend. She’ll go thrifting, play the casino slots for days and surf the “interweb” to “blog” on political sites. Don’t you dare change the television channel when she’s watching msnbc’s Rachel Maddow or Melissa Harris-Perry “give him (insert politician’s name) the bidness.”
I crack up laughing when she says things like “Handle yo bidness” and “Get in where you fit in.”
She’s had issues over the years that have made it hard. And we’ve gotten into it a couple times, disagreed or acted territorial. One time we popped our chests out like roosters. Real funny stuff, looking back.
But I love her.
When I found out I was pregnant for the first time, Barb was the first person I told. She was living in our basement guest room. She heard me vomiting each morning and kind of already knew. When I miscarried, she helped me into the bathtub and told me to cleanse myself of guilt. When I gave birth to my first daughter Alejandra, she hopped on a Greyhound bus headed for Omaha. She drank coffee with me each morning, her way of “fighting off the postpartum bug.”
Now in her late 50s, Barb isn’t the primetime show she once was — a former personal banker, writer, jewelry-maker, concert promoter (for the duo called Champagne and Dupris), dealer and lifetime hustler.
Life has finally caught up with her free spirit. Her health is failing. She was recently diagnosed with throat cancer.
And that has been hard to watch.
She’s not weak.
And I don’t want to accept it.
She doesn’t, either.
And even though at first I was apprehensive about her moving to Omaha, I’m glad she’s finally here.
Josie Loza is the editor of momaha and a mother to three children. You can read her Mom Daily blog by clicking here.