Two Months With My Mother

She raised three wild girls.

But now she seems frail and easily confused. Stuck in a timeless era.

In the years after leaving for college, I quickly learned my week long limit. Longer stays just didn’t end well. After Hurricane Maria, we lived with my parents for two months.

It might have been an opportunity to get to know each other again after a decade of traveling. To spend time together, relive the glory days of a full and wild house of girls singing to Paula Abdul. But instead I left with an uneasy sense of my own age. And a sense of the mad confusion of time passing too quickly. The changing seasons blurring into each other. One after another.

It was all the questions that spurred this realization.

I can make mashed potatoes for your low-carb diet. No? Well, what about tortillas? Aren’t those low-carb?

And the confusion at the Indian restaurant. Chicken marsala? They have that at Olive Garden!

Any my personal favorite: when are you going to finish your research?

Was this my failing? In my haste to get to the next adventure, to skip family reunions, did I fail her? Maybe I was the one who left her behind, flipping through the same old cracked photo albums.

Or was this her failing? Failing to keep up after running after us for so long.

My life is punctuated by moments I realize I am exactly like my mother and moments I realize I am absolutely nothing like my mother.

I am a tropical ecologist. I write about life in the field and in academia.

I am a tropical ecologist. I write about life in the field and in academia.