A walk in the park with mom
My parents stayed together until I graduated high school. I knew that they were not getting along well, but didn't realize that my father was just waiting for me to graduate. The day after my graduation he moved out. He was legally bound to pay for my college education and he settled with my mother with a continuation of health insurance and with a lump sum in lieu of alimony. My mother, Gwen, knew she could not live forever on that lump sum and used it to buy into a small business. I, Richard, went on to pursue my education at the most expensive university in California. I actually hated to leave my mother alone so soon after the divorce, but the demands of her small business and its' success, kept her mind and activities occupied.
I loved being in college and away from home for the first time. The California environment and lifestyle was a big change from the Illinois town where I grew up. As much as I was having a good time, I was a little homesick and concerned for my mother. After the first semester, I came home for Christmas break. It was really nice to be home again and winter setting in was a nice change from the sunny weather of California. Being gone for several months, you notice things that you would normally take for granted if you were around all the time. I noticed my mother had lost some weight having to spend so much time with her business. Her long blonde hair was now a shorter business style. We spent a great deal of time together that December as I helped her in her business during the Christmas rush and of course we were together as a family for the two holidays. After New Years, I headed back to school.
The next semester I got involved in an outdoors club at school where we spent most of our time backpacking in the Shasta area on weekends. I was never much of outdoors person and I was surprised at how much I loved backpacking. This lead to a lot of bad jokes and old jokes we already had heard dozens of times. The semester flew by and soon I was on a plane back to Illinois for the summer. I planned on spending the three months working at my mother's business and on the weekends backpacking in the rugged terrain of far southern Illinois. I started to work with Gwen and within just a day or two, I realized that she was quite over stressed with the business. I suggested that she go walking with me in the evenings to work off the stress and stay in shape. There was a two mile asphalt walking trail close to the house that twisted through a county park. My mom agreed to walk with me as she realized the job was getting to her a lot.
Everyday after work, mom and I would change into t shirts and shorts and walk the trail. The walk provided a place for us to relax, really talk, and draw close to each other. We talked about the business, college, and California. She enjoyed hearing about my backpacking adventures so much. Our walks after work really helped my mom. She was far less stressed and continues (weather permitting) to walk the park trail to relax after work.