I got to visit my parents in Phoenix recently thanks to fortuitous timing of work trips out West. Four days after I left their house, they flew to New York on a trip we planned months ago. We celebrated our Christmas, saw New York, and they soaked up time with the granddaughters.
My mom was an NICU nurse for most of my childhood. She worked the nightshift – 7pm to 7am. I was a night owl in high school, and remember occasionally calling her at the hospital after midnight to ask a question, or just to chat.
Mom developed chronic pain, which was exacerbated by her sleep schedule. She loved the nursery, but took a job on the administration side to get a better schedule. She was very good at her job and retired as Director of Materials Management for a large hospital chain. Shortly after she retired though, she took a part time job working in the nursery again. She fully retired when Covid hit in 2020. And then, when Covid quieted down... she started volunteering at the hospital.
My mom's the kind of person who gives candies to the tollbooth workers on Christmas. Or on any day, really. From her I learned how many doors open if you're genuinely kind to everyone. She greets strangers. She's an optimist. She's always smiling.
I love you, Mom.