I was born more than three weeks past my due date, an act of monumental tardiness that kept my mother waiting for nearly 10 months to give birth to an 8-pound, 13-ounce baby who is even larger now but, sadly, no more mature.
But that was nothing — easy for me to say because I have not, as yet, given birth — compared to the 15 months my mother, Rosina, had to wait to see me after the pandemic struck.
Now that we have been vaccinated, it was safe for me to venture back to my hometown of Stamford, Connecticut, to visit my mom, who at 96 is in better shape than I am, both physically (except for her sore knees, which will probably sideline her for the remainder of the baseball season) and mentally (so are hanging plants, one of which I brought to her as a gift).
I pulled my car into the driveway and was enthusiastically greeted by my sister Elizabeth’s sweet pooch, Lucie, who is 14 and, in dog years, is as old as my mother and almost as frisky.
“Woof, Woof!” (translation: “Hi, Lucie!”) I exclaimed as the cuddly canine planted a kiss on my kisser.
“I think you’re barking up the wrong tree,” said my sister Susan, who, with Elizabeth, lives with our mom and helps take care of her.
We both laughed and hugged for the first time since January 2020.
Susan, Lucie and I went inside and waited for my mother to come downstairs from her bedroom, where she was getting dolled up for my appearance.
About 15 minutes later, I heard the sound of the stair lift, a contraption my mother calls “my magic carpet,” delivering her to the front hallway, which is next to the family room, where Susan and I were sitting.
My mother rolled into the room with the help of her rollator and said from behind me, “Hello, stranger!”
I turned around and, with mock indignation, huffed, “Can’t you see I’m talking with Susan?”
I turned back around and pretended to continue the conversation with my sister.
There was a moment of silence before we all burst into laughter. I got up and embraced my mother, who hugged me so tightly she almost cracked my ribs. As a retired nurse, she could have fixed me up in a jiffy.
“I’ve waited for 15 months for this day,” my mother said when she finally released me.
“That’s even longer than you waited for me to be born,” I noted.
“And look what I got,” my mother joked.
What she got was a son who inherited her sense of humor, if not her punctuality. In fact, my mother is always joking, which in recent years has helped her bounce back from broken bones (leg, wrist and back) as well as a bump to the head, which, she said, “is too hard to break.”
Since it was raining, we couldn’t go outside, which was fine with me because the week before, my mother was visited by a bear.
“It came out of the woods and snapped two metal plant hooks like they were twigs,” my mother said.
“You could have scared it away with your trusty BB gun,” I said, referring to the air pistol my mom uses for — no kidding — target practice in the backyard.
“That makes you a son of a gun,” she quipped.
When Elizabeth came home, we hugged and laughed when I told her about the greeting I got from Lucie.
“She loves her Uncle Jerry,” Elizabeth said.
Susan’s son Blair, a wonderfully enterprising young man who also lives in the house, walked in wearing his “magnetic hat,” a baseball cap on which he attached magnets that hold some of the small tools he uses at work.
“That’s using your head!” I told him.
We sent out for pizza and had a laugh-filled dinner before I left for home.
“This has been one of the best days of my life,” my mother said as she gave me another hug. “And just like when you were born, it was worth the wait.”
Jerry Zezima writes a humor column for Tribune News Service and is the author of five books. Email: JerryZ111@optonline.net. Blog: jerryzezima.blogspot.com.