My 86 year-old mother is in a rehab hospital after having hip replacement surgery on Monday.

We all thought she'd be home by Tuesday like the doctor predicted, but with her age and some unexpected side effects from pain meds, she's been ordered to stay put for a few days.

She's alert and walking well with a walker and seems to be in a lot less pain from a week ago. But she's not home, and this drives her and my dad crazy.

(Dennis Malloy/Townsquare Media)

We don't like my dad driving too far anymore so my three siblings and I have been taking turns visiting and driving dad. So last night my sister and brother-in-law took my dad to get dinner and then take him home. It was just me and mom til visiting hours were over at 8. It was before 7.

As I sat in the uncomfortable hospital chair, I looked up at the clock and wondered what I would talk about for an hour. As I looked at her and could see the look of relief on her face, now that the pain is gone, I thought how lucky I was to still have her. To still have both of my parents, lucid and in pretty good health.

Of all the many blessings in my life, that I try to appreciate every day, having wonderful parents and for so long as we have, is the greatest blessing of all.

To all of you who have lost parents way too soon or didn't have the kind of family life that I've enjoyed, it would be an insult to you if I didn't take advantage of every moment I have with my parents. I've heard most of her stories over and over, over the years. I've asked just about every question I could think of to learn more about her and her parents.

Her parents were born in 1883 in Sicily. She was born the eighth child of a woman who had just turned 49, not in a hospital, but in a spare room of their row home in Philadelphia. We talked about her childhood, her parents, her siblings and the "old days". The hour flew by and the security guy came around to remind us visiting hours were over.

She thanked me for sitting "all that time" with her. I couldn't get the words out to thank her for "all that time" she and my dad put into raising and loving me and my brothers and sister. I just nodded and blew her another kiss as I left the room, trying not to let her see me getting a little emotional.

(Dennis Malloy/Townsquare Media)

I know how lucky I am and I know how many people who miss their parents wish they had what I do. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this holy week of religious celebration. I have people like you to thank for making me appreciate what many of us should never take for granted.

More from New Jersey 101.5:

Sign up for the Newsletter

Get the best of delivered to your inbox every day.