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The old statement about a girl’s relationship with her mother goes something like this.  

Age 6 – I love mommy 

Age 16 – I am so over my mom 

Age 36 – My mom was right  

Age 66 – I miss my mom  

Most of us can identify with one if not all of these stages. I am lucky. I was at the front of the line when mothers were passed out. My mom has at times been my best friend, biggest cheerleader and kind critic. We have had our outbursts like any mother and daughter, but for most of my 70 years, my mother has been the first person I have turned to in good times and bad. And for the past two years Joy has been my housemate.

When COVID was cutting a swathe through New York and New Jersey I talked my mom into moving across the country to Montana. I thought I could keep her in a safer bubble out here. I expected the idea of a sudden road trip to get some pushback. Instead, she packed an overnight bag and she and her shepherd rescue, Bucket, piled into the back seat for the cross country trek. The trip was one of the great gifts of my life.

As we headed West, Joy started talking about her young married life in Indiana, how she and my father would spend long weekends in Chicago, what it was like to grow up poor in Omaha, and the excitement of piling into the family car in 1935 aiming for Puyallup, Washington and the promise of a job for her father. Every stretch of the highway seemed to spark her memory and stories I had never heard. A generation later I would share my geographically sparked memories from my life with my children and watch as they were now creating their memories…the memories that link one generation of motherhood to another.