I spent Mother’s Day weekend without my kids, and it was amazing.
I’m not sure when my adoration for Bette Midler began. I used to go to the video rental store and check out “Beaches” on a regular basis. My mom and I watched it together dozens of times. I loved, LOVED, the movie “Big Business” with Lily Tomlin. They played two sets of identical twins switched at birth. It might have been corny, but I was 9. I loved it. Then she starred in “Gypsy” on television. I watched that musical probably 100 times. Let’s just say while my friends were listening to New Kids on the Block, I was blasting the soundtrack to “Gypsy” in my room and singing along. I knew every word.
My dad opened my eyes to her earlier musical work, and I loved it all. My favorites were Miss Otis Regrets and Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy. Again–I blasted them on repeat on the stereo in my room.
Fast forward to 2009. I heard that Bette was at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. I had to go. My husband and I booked a trip–you know, for quality couple time. (Don’t tell him it was really a mission to see Bette.) Although I love him, he doesn’t share my love for all things Bette, so he was happy to sit out the show (and the $250 price tag) while I went by myself to see her.
Since I was alone I was able to get a second row seat. It was PHENOMENAL. She was everything I hoped she would be. The energy was palpable. She was funny. She sounded great. She sang every song I wanted to hear and dozens more. At the close of the show she sat on the edge of the stage and sang The Glory of Love on the ukulele. She sat directly in front of me and I swear she looked right at me when she was singing. The night was perfect, but only one thing was missing. I had no one to share it with. I called my mom on the way out of the theater, and I promised her that one day we would see Bette together. I had to share this magical experience with her.
Early this year it was announced that Bette was going to go on tour, and she was making two stops in Florida, where we live. Bette had just released an album called “It’s the Girls,” paying tribute to the best musical girl groups like The Supremes, The Shirelles, The Chiffons, etc. My mom and I listened to the oldies together in the car when I was growing up. We sang loudly, and off key, together. If ever there was a concert to go to with my mom, it was Bette singing oldies!
The show was Mother’s Day weekend, four hours away from where we live. While I felt guilty spending the weekend away from my three kids, I knew that this was an opportunity to spend time with my mom. I didn’t want to miss this chance. My husband and kids would understand, and we’d make it back in time to have dinner with them on Sunday.
We drove down and talked the entire four hours. Uninterrupted conversation doesn’t tend to happen very often these days. It was amazing to just be mother and daughter instead of Grandma and Mommy. We covered dozens of topics–work, the kids, my dad’s health, and the future of our family business. We had great talks. We laughed a lot. It was fantastic.
We had dinner and played in the casino attached to the venue. Honestly this could have been enough for me. This time with my mom was precious. Seeing Bette would be the icing on the cake. And it was.
That woman put on a show! We had center, floor seats. We could see her facial expressions. She looked marvelous. The woman will be 70 in December. She performed for two solid hours and made it look easy. She was funny and sounded great. She even sang Miss Otis Regrets and Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy. One of her final songs was The Wind Beneath my Wings. Sitting there with my mom, holding hands, listening to that song, will be a memory I always treasure. As sappy as it sounds, my mom is my hero. She truly is the wind beneath my wings. I welled up thinking about it. It was as if Bette was singing that song directly to us.
It was the best Mother’s Day weekend I ever could have asked for. My husband’s gift of holding down the fort for 24 hours was all I wanted. I had an unbelievably special time with my mom that I will remember forever. I can’t wait to take my daughter to see Bette when she’s old enough. Sure, Bette will be 90 years old, but I have a feeling that won’t stop her. Just like Bette said at the concert, she’s like vodka–odorless, tasteless, and ageless.