77: Dorothy and Sophia

77: Dorothy and Sophia

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks to My Mom

Dorothy and Sophia

My mother always used to say, “The older you get, the better you get, unless you’re a banana.”

~Rose, in The Golden Girls

“That’s going to be us someday,” I said to my mom the morning of my grandmother’s funeral. We were standing outside the funeral home watching a friend of the family spin her own mother around the parking lot in a wheelchair. The mother, who had to be well into her nineties, was squealing with delight. With her dementia, she honestly had no idea she was even at a funeral and she was having a grand old time. Her daughter made sure of that. It was nice to see, especially given the day’s circumstances.

My mom narrowed her eyes at me. “I don’t think so.”

“Oh, we totally are. We’ll be just like Dorothy and Sophia.”

It was a running joke in my family that I was going to end up like Dorothy Zbornak from The Golden Girls when I reached the menopausal years, and my mom would slowly morph into little, sassy Sophia. She already had the short stature; all she needed was a gray fro, some massive glasses, and a whole lot of attitude, and she’d be good to go.

Mom shook her head at me like she does whenever she thinks I’m being a weirdo. She went to check on my dad. “Don’t deny your future,” I called after her.

But she knew I was right. We were going to be like those two someday: a daughter taking care of her mother—a daughter who made sure her mom had a blast in her golden years.

You see, Mumsie (my endearing nickname for my mom) and I are best friends. We tell each other everything. Okay, so I tell her everything, and she tells me most things. I’m pretty sure she leaves out stuff about her and my dad that would set off my gag reflex. But we truly are that close.

“It was you and me in the beginning, and it will be you and me in the end,” she admitted to me during my annual holiday visit last year after I had gotten her drunk with a bottle of cheap Chardonnay (she doesn’t have my wino tolerance). My dad was off visiting his own mom, so it was just us girls, drinking and watching a marathon of what else but The Golden Girls.

Our unique bond began before I was even born, the moment she found out she was pregnant with me to be exact. She and my dad had broken up just weeks before, and she decided not to tell him about me. She decided the instant that little stick turned pink that I was hers and she was mine, and she would give me the best life she possibly could, no matter what it threw at us. We would be a team. We would be best friends.

“Why did you keep me?” I asked that same drunken night. “You were young and single. If it had been me, I probably would’ve gotten rid of me.”

“But I loved you,” she replied.

“But you didn’t even know me.”

“But I loved you,” she repeated.

I stared at her in awe, and while I was a little tipsy myself during this conversation, the impact of those words sobered me right up. Mumsie was the bravest woman… ever. Had our roles been reversed, I’m not so sure I would’ve been so courageous.

And while things did eventually pan out for my parents (my dad worked hard to win her back, and they’re still the happiest couple I know, but that’s a story for another Chicken Soup for the Soul book), I will never discount her integrity. I will never discount her courage. I will never discount the love she had for her unborn child.

Thirty-four years ago, my mother made a vow to be the best mother she could, even though she was young, scared, and alone. And someday, I’ll do the same for her. We’ll be just like Dorothy and Sophia. And don’t worry, my dad will be there too.

~Kyle Therese Cranston

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