to your mother


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Who Are You Calling An Old Man?

Dad recently bought a Toyota Matrix. He and Mom have been tooling around town in a Prius for a few years and Dad wanted a second vehicle in which Mom could get in and out.  He had been hemmin' and hawin' for about a week, telling me he wanted to see if Mom could get into the car. I told him we would do I next time I came up.

 Next time I came up, Dad approached Mom, telling her he wanted to see if she could independently get in and out of the new car. Mom rolled her eyes and harumphed a little. "Come on Peggy, let's try it out. I feel like an old man driving that Prius around"...said the 77 year old man.

Well, Mom easily got in, her young groom drove her around the block, and when they returned I asked Mom to smile for a victory picture...

Nuff said.

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Middle

The middle...I'll get to that in a minute.  First we need to catch up a bit...

Mom won the fight...with the eye surgeon...

Mom had minor eye surgery almost two weeks ago. The lower lid on her right eye was curling in and rubbing against her eyeball. You know how painfully annoying it is when you have an eyelash stuck in your eye? Imagine your whole lower lid constantly stroking your eyeball...there's Mom's life for the past I-don't-even-know-how-many-months. With a little yelling persuasive talk, Dad was able to get an earlier appointment for her surgery (2 months instead of 3 months). Mom came through the surgery with flying colors (note the gorgeous shade of purple below that right lid, just stunning). I slept in the bed with Mom that night to ensure she didn't need assistance while she used the bathroom FOUR TIMES DURING THE NIGHT. I awoke with gusto each time, anxious to make sure Mom wasn't going to fall on my watch...meanwhile she was able to do everything independently and I was just along for the show. The next morning? I went home. Dad kept the goop on her eye lid for a week, returned her for a follow up appointment and she is well on the road to pain-free blinking and, well, just existing with a regular eyeball experience. Bless.

Now let us jump to last Thursday 11/12/15. Mom had her routine blood work done and then I received the call from Dad. Mom's hemoglobin was down to 6.3 (or abouts there). Anything below an 8 is a concern. As my dear friend Don would say, "whoopsie". Mom was scheduled for a blood transfusion the following morning, Friday 11/13/15. I met Mom and Dad at the hospital for the outpatient transfusion event and returned her home 5 hours later. She got in her pajamas, ate a meal, and planned to go to bed early.

Fast forward to Saturday 11/14/15 in the afternoon. Mom had been vomiting and wasjust overall a sick mess. After a few phone calls between Dad, Paul and me a plan comes together. Dad called the ambulance and Paul met them at Waynesboro Hospital. It was determined that Mom's tongue was swollen and she was having some sort of allergic reaction to one of her medications that had built up in her system. She stayed overnight for observation and Paul and Dad brought her home Sunday afternoon 11/15/15, feeling much more like herself.

I went up to Mom and Dad's today (Monday 11/16/15) to check out the scene, see what has been going on in the hood. Mom...

...okay hold on...I just realized that I wanted a picture of the list Mom and I worked on today. I got the list then realized I had never used the camera on this laptop before so let's test it out, right?

Literally, here are my thoughts and the corresponding pictures:

what button do I click?

oh THAT one works!

I have NO IDEA where my six-year-old daughter gets her drama. No. Idea.

Onward, shall we?

I started making a list on a sticky note of things Mom and I wanted to get done while I was there today. I pretty much wrote what I thought should happen today and then Mom started gesturing as to what SHE wanted to get done. I gave her the paper and said "sure, YOU write what YOU want to get done today." (Sorry folks, I was feeling snarky today.) If you look at the bottom of the list, you can clearly see "GRPOP", stroke language for "take out the recycled newspapers, they keep sliding off the chair, oh and make sure you bring in an empty bag to put on the chair so I can start filling another one".
At some point, Mom took over crossing items off the list. See my nice check on her recycling item? See her scribble-scrabble all over the rest of it? And at some point I turned to Mom while I was doing the dishes and said, "Mom can you write ______ on the list so I don't forget?" (I've forgotten what _______was.) and she promptly went to the list and wrote the "TeuT" near the top of the list. She wheeled the list over to me, proudly putting it up towards my face. I replied "Oh, yeah, ________. Thanks for writing that down." She just cackled and hooted with pride.

Okay, still with me people? The middle.

The first thing on our list of things for Mom and I to do today was get her in the shower. I asked her if she wanted help washing her hair, she replied yes. I soaped up her hair, from her forehead to the back of her neck. I massaged her scalp, worked the suds through the length of her hair. I sprayed the water, starting at her forehead and working my way back, combing my fingers through the length of her hair, rinsing out the soap and feeling how smooth and silky her clean hair had become. I helped my mom wash her hair.

Fast forward to this evening. I arrived home in time for the kids to get off the bus. So many decisions, questions, whining, near-fits, reminders, food, candy, more food, drink something, cut this foam out to make this gift for your teacher, yadda yadda yadda until it was time for Julie to take her weekly shower (don't judge). Julie has grown her hair long and gets frustrated washing it herself.

"Mama, will you wash my hair for me?" 

 I soaped up her hair, from her forehead to the back of her neck. I massaged her scalp, worked the suds through the length of her hair. I sprayed the water, starting at her forehead and working my way back, combing my fingers through the length of her hair, rinsing out the soap and feeling how smooth and silky her clean hair had become. I helped my daughter wash her hair.

The middle. That is exactly where I am. Mom was in her 30's when she had me, I was in my 30's when I had my kids...Mom, at 80 years old, is significantly older than most of my friend's parents. Most friends my age have kids who are much older than mine. I'm not sure how many people are actually so close to this middle, where I still have a daughter who wants my help washing her hair and I have a mother who benefits from the same gift in which I can lovingly give.

Frankly, the middle feels like poop a lot of the time, being pulled between the needs of my young kids and the longing to care for my parents. But the middle can also be a blessing, helps me to realize that I give love and receive love across such a wide spectrum of this life.

The middle. It is what it is. I'm looking at the gratitude in it today.