My Mom and My Scooter

My Mom lost her fight with cancer over 4 years ago. Up until a few months before she died, she was doing pretty much what she wanted and continued to fight. My Mom is a New Yorker. More specifically, she’s from Brooklyn, so battling hard for what she was committed to was in her blood. For that alone, she was an inspiration.

My dad, brother, sister and I were all with her when she passed in June, 2011. That night we all sat silently around my parent’s kitchen table in New Jersey. It had only been a few hours since we left the hospital and no one really could muster anything to say. In one of the long silences, my dad got up and started fussing around the kitchen. He came back with some money my mom had kept around the house. He split it up and handed it to my two siblings and me.

He simply said, “Buy something to remember your Mom.”

The money he gave me sat in a drawer. There was nothing I could think of to buy that was significant enough or didn’t seem wasteful. In the next four months, my Dad began readying the house for sale in order to move out to Ohio to be closer to all the kids and grandkids.

That September, Dad sent an email with a spreadsheet of the stuff he had inventoried in the house. There were tables, books, records, couches, and on and on. I scanned the list thinking how much I missed my Mom and how sad it must be for my Dad. On the bottom of the first page were items from the garage: snow blower, chainsaw, edger, wheel barrel, wagon, and a lot of outdoor supplies. You see, my Mom loved to garden and work outside. The last time I saw her at home was a month before she died, and I spent the weekend working in the yard at her direction planting for the spring. Seeing this part of the list made me even more sad.

Then I saw “Moped” on the list. It was my Mom’s yellow 1976 (or maybe 1977) Mobylette. Back in the ’70s, while my siblings and I were at school, my Mom would tool around New Jersey for hours on her moped. When we moved out to Ohio, she rode it less, but still used to take it out some. It was one of her escapes and thinking about it brought a smile to my face as it was another one of our connections.

You see, when I was finishing college I bought a motorcycle. Dad thought it was stupid, but Mom understood. She stopped short of approving, but she got it. After owning my bike for ten or so years, I finally got rid of it. Four kids and major responsibilities made it completely impractical, and the bike became a lawn ornament leaned against my house.

I asked Dad to bring the moped when he moved out to Columbus. I’m not sure why, other than it was something fun and quirky like her.

Then it hit me.

I did some research and made some phone calls. I then told my wife my idea. She understood immediately. After a few more phone calls, I bought my new 2-stroke Stella sight unseen.

The next day I emailed my dad.

Dad,

I wanted to share my thinking on what I decided to get with the money you gave me to remember Mom with.

I set up the criteria that it had to be something I would have a long time, something that would always make me think of Mom and smile, and something fun. I was thinking about Mom’s yellow moped when I had this idea, so hopefully you’ll approve of my purchase.

I bought it new, negotiated the hell out of it like Mom would have, and bought one that should last.

It’s a lot of fun and short of buying one in yellow, it felt like Mom would have approved. I bought a helmet for me and an extra for the kids.

I love you.

Two hours later I got his response.

Jim,

I am sure Mom would approve.

Love,

Dad

He got it and that meant a lot.

My dad is now living in Columbus and I am very grateful he’s here. I still miss my Mom everyday, but especially around spring time and Mother’s Day. Even in her absence, she continues to be an inspiration and support to me. There hasn’t been a time when I’m out on my scooter that I haven’t thought of my Mom, and smiled.

My Stella

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