Oh, hello! Pull up a chair and help yourself to some fresh cut pineapple.
I spent today with my mother. She wanted to go to one of the local discount stores for material. She makes the most gorgeous quilts, and she had a new pattern to get material for. I was her designated chauffeur. Then we were going to lunch and the yarn store, because she also knits like a pro.
My mother drives me crazy. True, unadulterated, bat-shit crazy. At the same time, I really do consider her one of my heroes. Also, since she is now “of a certain age”, I know that the time we have together is growing more limited. Spending big blocks of time of her is a wonderful test of my patience and a way to calm down my ADD. I need to remember that she’s not as young as she was – she doesn’t move as quickly; she doesn’t make decisions as quickly; she needs more attention.
Part of Mum’s challenge is that she was recently sick. I won’t go into the details, because they aren’t mine to tell, but as well as she’s doing, she is still not feeling “right”. I’m worried about her; and I know she is worried about it, but won’t say anything because she doesn’t want to be a burden.
Mum came over here to the states in the early 60s. That’s huge. I have great admiration for anyone who leaves their comfort zone – be it their job, their state, their country! – to take on a whole new challenge. A new culture. My mom did that. Hero reason #1.
Growing up, we didn’t have a lot of money. We weren’t poor, but we didn’t have “extra”. I only figured this out after the fact. I can’t speak for my brother Herb, or The Sister, but I never was aware that our family had any money issues. We never had all the big name brand stuff, but that was okay. I love that both my parents worked so hard and made us feel loved. Hero reason #2.
My mother is one of the most generous people I know. She is willing to do most anything for anyone at any time. There are times when she goes overboard – food related times mostly – but it’s all done with the best intentions. She is loving and caring. Hero reason #3.
On the downside, Mum can talk. Good gravy, Mabel. She can talk a cat off a tuna wagon. For real. The 5 hours we spent together today – she probably spent 3 1/2 of it talking. I hardly got a word in. And if I did try to relay some story, she interrupted and took the tale off in some random direction. For this reason, I need to get into the right frame of mind before I spend a lot of time with her. I don’t want to get irritated with her or mad at her for something so silly. Who knows – in another few years, I could end up longing for one of these days together. I hope it’s longer than a few though.
So that’s Mum. My hero. I love her. And she is a big reason why I am the person I am. I hope she’s around for a long time yet. If I’m lucky, she will be.
2009/08/17 at 1:32 pm
This is a lovely post. My parents are definitely at that age, and my mom can drive me out my head. But I have to remind myself that I need to cherish this time with her—and my dad—instead of getting frustrated. I love them both and I can’t imagine how hard it’s going to be when they’re no longer around.
2009/08/16 at 8:44 am
Beautifully written, my friend. My parents are both reaching that age too and it scares me a bit to think of them not being able to take care of themselves, or worse, not being there at all. I love them, but like you, need to be in the right frame of mind to take on long doses of them. Let’s hope we are both frustrated with them for many years to come. 🙂
2009/08/15 at 1:06 pm
Pineapple is amazing. You are an odd boy.
2009/08/15 at 1:44 pm
this made me laugh!
2009/08/15 at 1:00 pm
Oh, and I can’t stand fresh pineapple, but I will gag it down for you. Because it would be rude not to.
2009/08/15 at 1:45 pm
and i’d like to say i’d gag down courgette cake for you, but that might be a big fat lie. i could maybe manage carrot cake – with lots of lovely tea – but… no promises.
2009/08/15 at 12:57 pm
I think the turning point is always the first time when your mother or father turns to you, when the reliance within the relationships shifts away from them towards you.
My father was an old man when I was still young, and I struggled with a number of things, and it took me a long time to come to terms with those things. My mother is a hero to me, for similar reasons to yours, plus she is generally considered the craziest person we know, which is both very cool and extraordinarily frustrating at once. But she is getting old and her emotional, physical and mental frailties are coming to the fore.
Thank you for sharing this about your mother – I can fully understand the driven batshit crazy feeling you have, but I guess, like you, I’d miss it when the time comes.
Lovely post as ever.
2009/08/15 at 1:44 pm
thank you for the kind words.
as i see them getting older, it just makes me so sad. i haven’t been able to write about my dad yet, because thinking of him (either of them really) not being around makes me cry. i know the day is inevitable, but i still know that i am going to be an absolute mess when the time comes for either one of them to die. ugh.
2009/08/15 at 5:48 am
This is such a cute post. You are so lovely (which I keep saying because it is true!)
I worry about this kind of thing with my dad. He is 10 years older than my mum so I know he is going to struggle first. He already kiiiiiiind of is but nothing major. I try and enjoy every moment together with him and my mum because you never know. In fact you never know how long any of us will be here so cherish every moment with everyone you love!
2009/08/15 at 1:42 am
This is truly, truly lovely. It can be so challenging to watch our moms get older. (I struggle with this.) I have to remember to not lose my patience with mine when she doesn’t still act like the mom I had when I was a little girl. Like you said: She doesn’t move as quickly, she doesn’t make decisions as quickly and she needs more attention. It’s just hard to grasp this sometimes because in our hearts our moms don’t age and really? Neither do we. In our hearts there will always live a little girl who needs her mom.
What a beautiful tribute to an obviously wonderful mom. (Because you are a lovely person so she clearly knew what she was doing!!) She’s lucky to have you as a daughter!
2009/08/15 at 1:38 pm
you are so sweet.