When my mother was about 70, she announced she had too much baggage in her life and would lighten the load by removing one of the N’s from her name. She would now be An, rather than Ann. She made this change legally and her new phone message announced brightly, “Hi, this is An—with one n! Leave me a message and I’ll call you back!” She definitely felt lighter.
On the other hand, I was her financial advisor and had to re-register every security that she owned. My assistant and I would prepare the name changes, send them off and invariably get a note from the other end saying, “Just wanted to let you know we caught your typo. You spelled Ann with only one N. We corrected it for you.” It often took several rounds to convince them, alas, there was no typo, but rather a one-of-a-kind-client with an imaginative flair.
This story symbolizes life with my mother for me. She sparkled, craved change and was a fearless seeker for alternative ways to view life, faith, the world and, not the least, outer space. I tagged along, often shaking my head, but always enjoying the journey.
Near the end of her life, she was convinced there was a spaceship following the Hale—Bopp comet, a community of aliens living under Mt. Shasta and her own personal spiritual guide out in space looking out for her.
Maybe that same guide chose me to tag alongside her, a loyal sidekick, sharing in her adventures as she made life, the heavens and her ever-evolving beliefs a chorus of mixed melodies that somehow found harmony. I never thought the baggage was too heavy.