My Almost Mom (For Ann)

by Nancy McDaniel

Not my mother
Nor my stepmother
Nor even an official godmother
But my “almost mom”
Who has loved me for over 60 years
I’m an “almost sister” to her two sons
For those same 60 years.

Maybe better than a “real” mom
Because we are first of all friends
I can talk to her more honestly and openly
Than I could to any of my “other” moms

Laughing over silly mistakes
That we each make
Or things we both forget
Helping each other with projects
Reminiscing about old recipes, old parties
And funny stories from 50 years ago:

Dr. Watson, dance club, lunches for teachers
Gramma and Grampa, Your Hit Parade,
Hotpoint Christmas party,
Mary Tyler Moore,
Glen Oak,
Bruce and Skip and Ralph,
Johnny and Dottie and Ginny,
Sandwich loaf, martinis, “backoffs” and blitz torte.

She is my ideal of what it is to grow older with grace:
Baking, swimming, water aerobics, dinner with friends,
Going to theater, playing bridge
(even the daily hands in the newspaper),
Volunteering as a bell ringer in sunglasses
and a Santa hat that looked very
much like a baseball cap
Always dressed nicely
Always a twinkle in her eye and a smile in her voice

She has faced lots of medical issues
but has never let them defeat her
She always bounces back with great determination
She adores her “hummers” in Maine
But settles for feeding jays and cardinals in
Florida

She still enjoys her daily vodka, but, with great
will power (and concession to age?), only one.

Loyal to her many friends, as they are to her
Always missing her husband of 60 years
But never giving in to loss
Independent and feisty
(I wonder if feisty is ever used to describe a young person)

Accepting help from others when necessary,
While always preferring to do it herself if possible
All in all, she is a hero of mine
And the only way I would ever want to be 96 years old

Is to be like Annie.

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