Dear Santa, I’d like a ‘floating arm,’ for Christmas


mom

This was a conversation that I had with my son when we went out today. I decided to go to Walgreen’s, to pick up a few things. Given that they had also given me a coupon for $10 off of any purchase of $30 or more, it seemed like a good place to spend my money. Besides, the Walgreen’s near me, has been the place to get all my last-minute things, including supplements for my mother.

While we were there, I went down the aisle that had all the item’s that she could use, for help. Lately she has had a difficult time walking and she grabs my arm, just to walk across the kitchen. It’s a short walk from my family room to the bathroom, but for some reason, she seems afraid to walk into open spaces, without holding on to someone, or something.

Now I find myself, staring at an assortment of canes. Wow! Who knew that you could be so stylish, while using a cane? My son was thrilled. “Hey! I like this one!” He grabbed one with camouflage and said, “I can’t wait to be old!” I was laughing to watch him, pretending to walk. “Look at me! I’m trippin on my grill!” One of his favorite expressions.

I told him, “I like the leopard one.” “No,” he said. “Grandma would look better with the pink flowers.” Now It’s an amusing thought, that we are actually trying to match her personality to a cane. I’m sure they couldn’t come up with anything to incorporate all her personality traits. My eyes drift at all of them, when I see one which is quite different.  “Wait a minute, look at this one. It glows in the dark.”

“Oh! That’s so cool!” My son is clearly excited now. “Let’s get this, it’s just so cool.” “Ok,” I said. But at this point reality is settling in. “You are the one that is going to convince your grandma to use it. I’m going to say, it’s a gift from you.” “Ok,” he said. “But I still think she’s going to make some excuse.”

He kept looking at the other geriatric products, and was amazed at the products available. “Man, it’s gonna be fun when I’m old!” He says. “Sure, that’s easy for you to say. I’m the one that’s next. And you better hope that I’m not as stubborn as grandma.”

We were laughing after I left the house, because my mom had picked up her calendar for the umpteenth time, and asked me what day it was. Every time she would ask, I would say, “It’s the 21st, Wednesday, mom. And don’t check it off again. Yesterday, she checked off today. And this is the reason, I have to hide her medicines. When I would come home to find them on the wrong days, I knew this method wasn’t working.

So, we come in with this cane and my son was over the top, when he saw it glowing. I had to pry off the bottom cap to place a small tripod on the bottom. Hoping this wouldn’t detract from the appearance too much. “Ok,” I told him. “You’re job is to now, sell this, to your grandma.”

We walked into the room, as I exclaimed, “Mom, we wanted to give you an early gift. It’s something that your grandson picked out and he really thinks you’ll like it.” He came running in and pretending to dance with this cane. At first, she started laughing, and then he said, “Grandma, it’s for you.” “Oh no! I don’t need that!” She said. “Mom, you’re grasping at walls, and need my arm, to walk across the room.” “I don’t need your arm, and I’m not an invalid.” She says. “Well, what will you do, when I am not here to walk you?” “I don’t need your arm!” She yells out. “Ok, I’ll leave it right here for when you may want to use it.”

Her response? “What’s the date today?” I lost my patience all together, and said, “Mom! It’s still the 21st. You’ve asked me so many times, it’s driving me crazy!”

Yes, I know, it’s not the correct response. I turned around to see my son cracking up. “Let’s go to the grocery store.” I say to him. “I’m just at a loss about how to help her.” Then he says, “Well I know what you can get grandma for Christmas? A floating arm!” Then we both start laughing at the thought. I said, “Hey, they should design a floating arm, on a contraption, like a zip-line.” He starts laughing so hard, as we are just imagining my mom, grabbing hold to ‘the arm,’ careening across the kitchen, into her designated place.

Then he says, “Hey, she’s probably asking Kevin, what the date is. Did you hear her when you didn’t answer her?” “No,” I said. “What did she say?” “Oh,” he said. “It was funny She looked at Kevin, and said, “Geesh! Well, I’ll get the answer from someone else.”

“Oh, my gosh, can you see them together?” At this thought, we both started laughing even harder. “My mom, questioning my mentally challenged brother, all day, about what the date is. I can see him grabbing his calendar, which he has by his side as well. He keeps track of all the Packer’s games, on his calendar.

“He probably gets sick of it too!” my son says. “He probably says, “Stop it!” Which is my brother’s favorite expression, when he’s fed up. He’ll put his hand up, in a stop symbol, and says, “Stop it!” Oh, this is just hilarious, to even imagine.

I tell my son, “we should get her a Planner.” “Oh, I can already see what would be written in it.” He says. “First, get out of bed. Check off the date. Wait for Carrie to leave the room. Sneak some chocolate. Wait til she comes back. Ask her what date it is. Check off the date.” Now I can’t stop cracking up at him. I said, “Come on, that’s not nice. “Mom, it’s our humor that keeps us going.” “You know what? That’s true.” I said.

Now my son says, I’d love to put a hidden camera in the room to watch them. It’s probably so funny.” He has a point. I’ve walked into the room to hear my mom, just talking away with my brother. It’s not as if it’s odd to talk to him, but she’ll actually talk to him as if, he is fully functioning. He doesn’t have a clue about some of the things she’s saying. And she’s even gotten into arguments with him. This is a complete mystery to me. As I have to remind my son, he is not at your level, so don’t argue with him.

The good thing about her lack of memory, is that she forgets as soon as she has an argument. She’s told me, “well losing short term memory isn’t all bad. There’s some things people don’t want to remember.” How true this is. If only we could pick and choose.

Now my son is dancing in front of the television with the cane, and he’s singing into it like a microphone. My mother is getting a big kick out of this. She tells him, “Well I’m glad you like it! You can keep it!”

So, the ‘cane argument’ has blown over and I walk into the room. “Hey! She says, “What’s the date?”

It's not Christmas without a cane!

Image

Braving the Winter Storm


I have been shopping for Christmas gifts, and I found myself getting very emotional in a store yesterday. I was looking at things for my mom. I remember, as I’m looking at clothes. Her hands are frail and she’s having difficulty with the simplest of tasks. Buttoning, unbuttoning. Opening little things. She’s even requesting that I walk her from one room to another. I find myself thinking, how many more Christmases do we have?” Time is so fleeting. It seems like yesterday that we were young and celebrating Christmas, with anticipation.

She recalls these days, often. “What I loved the most was going to church on Christmas Eve.” She says. Yes, I recall these very special years, in my life. We all went to school right down the street. It was Atonement Lutheran. Every class participated in the Christmas program. Each class was responsible for reciting parts of the Christmas story. When it was time for the kids in Kindergarten, to speak, it was always the best. So cute, and there was always, one or two, kids who were trying to yell louder than the rest. With their missing teeth and squeaky voices, it was adorable, even to us older kids.

At the end of the service, we would leave, to go home and on the way out the door, we were given stockings with peanuts and oranges. It’s amazing how wonderful this gift seemed to us. I think if I were to give that to my son, he’d say, “What the heck? Is this a joke?”

We lived down the street in a place called, Parklawn. And although, we were the poor kids, we all had a great sense of community. My friends from the outside, would beg to come visit me. They were so intrigued by us, “Parklawnian’s.” The poor people, who seemed to live in a perpetual party.

I have to admit. As rough as the Project life could be, we found our own entertainment. And back in the 60’s it wasn’t as violent as it is now. Although, we did have our share. We would get into physical fights and meet up at the park. But we didn’t have gangs or carry guns and knives.

My mom, tried to make our holidays special, even with her meager income. I appreciated that. Looking back, I’m amazed that she even made attempts. And her whole purpose for sending us to this school can only be God. She had to become a member, and I would sit in on the instructional classes. It was taught by Pastor Schaefer. Who happened to be the grandfather, of a girl in my class. She would later become a good friend.

You really never know what you’re doing that will influence a child. My mother would take me with her, because I was the oldest and she thought, I would behave. I always brought a book to read, but I was so interested in what this pastor was saying, that I would just listen to him. Seeds were planted in my spirit. I had the fertile ground to cultivate those seeds. I  hadn’t realized this until much later in life. But just coming through the spiritual storms, had dredged up this dry ground, and I was absorbing this ‘Water of Life.’ It was perfect timing in my life, to hear the Word of God. “And faith comes by hearing, and hearing, by The Word of God.”

As my mother and I recounted these experiences, I said, “Mom, I remember the earliest Christmas. It was with you and dad and we lived at, The Green House. This was the term we used to refer to our house we lived in, right before my mother and dad split. It was a cute little green house, (hence the name) Built brand new. I still remember the smell of stained wood and new paint. I remember the excitement as a child, moving into this house.

It’s amazing how many memories we have. I told my mom, “That year, I wanted a Barbie Dream House. You and dad gave it to me.” She had remembered that they stayed awake into the wee hours, trying to assemble this thing. I loved these memories. My dad,would place a sheet over the entry to the living room and we weren’t allowed to go in until after we had breakfast. My mom would bake cookies the night before, for Santa, and there were a couple bites out of each one. It is actually my only memory of her baking.

We would eat our cereal, with so much excitement, just to race into the next room. I wonder at times, how they did all of this, considering the major dysfunction with my dad’s drinking and the abusive nature of their marriage. Perhaps this is why I love these memories; it shows how a sense of giving,  can bring people together. If it is only for a day. How healing comes through self-sacrifice.

That Barbie Dream House, had all of my own fantasies, wrapped inside. I had drifted into my own world. As I watched my brother, Dennis, I grew so attached to him. I taught him to walk and he would seem to know when I was coming home from school. A few short month’s later, it seemed, he was gone. Spinal meningitis, had stolen him from me.

My father and mother were separating and I was in crisis. Yet no one noticed. After all, I was a child. I learned very early on, that the Dream House was destructible.  It would not withstand the test of time any more than my whimsical family life.

Now, I am sharing memories with my mom and wondering how much time I have with her. I seemed to have turned a corner in our relationship. For years, her attitude has been stubborn and argumentative. I see a softness in her.

We had watched a movie starring Betty White, yesterday and I commented on how vibrant she is. “Yes,” she said, “You have to have something to look forward to.” I thought, this is so true. We have to feel relevant. It was the reason my father, lost his desire to live. He felt he had no purpose and it’s the reason that people just give up.

Just last Christmas she was upset about a toaster. And this year, I bought a bright, red toaster for her. I can’t wait until she opens it, as it has become a joke to all of us. I went into a Salvation Army, the other day, and amazingly, I found a little porcelain toaster too. I was so tickled and knew it had to be God.

Toaster

She is happy with the simplest of things. My son gave her a little ornament last year. It says, Grandma, on it. It lights up. And she keeps it on the table so she can look at it. She pick’s it up every few minutes and says, “This is so cute, isn’t it?”

I realize that I’m getting sad, that she doesn’t keep talking about her return to Wisconsin. She used to drive me crazy with this incessant talk. But now she hardly mentions it, and I feel more upset about not hearing it. Is she beginning to give up?

I woke from a dream this morning. In this dream, I had a doctor’s appointment, with my mother. I had been out shopping and a snow storm, was just starting. I must have lived somewhere else. I looked all over and couldn’t find my mom. I asked my kids, “Where’s grandma?” They told me she went out for a while. I was frantic. “Your grandma can’t go out by herself! She doesn’t even know where she is!” I was furious, and terrified, at the same time. I started running from room to room, with the hopes that they were wrong. “I’m sure I’ll find her sitting quietly on the bed.” I thought. Every where I looked, it was empty.

I’m now wondering if I should call the police. I look outside and it’s beginning to get dark. The street lights are on and the snow is coming down so hard, it’s blowing sideways. There’s no way she can survive out there. I’m panicking.

I go into a bathroom and see a hole in the ceiling. “What in the world? I climb up and realize that my daughter and a friend, had broken some lights, and had found a hidden room. Then I remember, there were rooms in the highest level of this house, which I never went into,because of fear. It is a nightmare I’ve had for many years of my life. I would not enter into this highest level and open these doors. But now I was looking at them from below. I see that my daughter and her friend had found this secret room. And there were all kinds of things in here that I could use. I saw paint containers and tools. I was looking at a ladder, coming down from one of the rooms which I would have never entered. But somehow, from this perspective, it was all so non-threatening. I felt a sense of relief, that I had been able to finally access this all alone.

When I woke, I began to dissect this. Of course, I know that this dream, had bit’s and pieces of my life throughout. I see that the Lord has tried to show me how fearful I’ve been to open certain doors. As I’ve been told in my past, these are the areas, He wants us to give to Him. And as He helps us to open them, we will see that, we have all kinds of tools, which will help us. “I know the plans, I have for you,” says the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

My mother is one of those rooms. I hold on so tightly and I am afraid to face the winter storm. Distracted in my search for her, by a room which had hidden all of my fears. He revealed to me that, He is in control and I felt Him trying to prepare me. At times, the thought of her leaving, makes me scared. When she wakes up too late, I have fear. When she loses interest in little things, like her Soap Opera, I try to rekindle her fire. As if by doing this, I’m the one holding onto the silver cord of life. Christ reminds me that He is the reason we celebrate this holiday. He is the “Light of the World,” on Hanukkah, and the “The Greatest Gift,” on Christmas. He’s greater than any Barbie Dream House, and He’s not a fairy-tale.

I’m so thankful that my mother listened to the voice of the Lord and gave me the opportunity to Hear the Good News!

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!

The Blizzard

Dumb, Dumber and Dumbest!


Dumb

Ok, I returned from my last trip to find out that my son was goofing off in class. He was sent to the office.

My ex husband said, “I’d like to stop by so that we can talk to him about this. So we can be on the same page.” I’m thinking, “ok, that’s great, but I’m not hopeful. He hasn’t even been in the same book. It’s been difficult and at times, I feel my attempts at discipline have been sabotaged. I’m never quite sure if he’s making a deliberate attempt to destroy my structure, or he really doesn’t understand.

After having a long discussion with him about my daughter’s lack of responsibility and the fact that he’s holding the purse strings, he went out, only hours later, and got her an upgrade for her phone. I was furious. He already pays her phone bill and her car payment. So, I asked him, “how is she ever going to learn how to be responsible?”

I feel as if I’m talking to a solid piece of wood. After he assured me that, he was going to hold up his end, he responded by getting her the newest model phone. He had gone behind my back, to get her car and then complained, when she failed to make payments on it. “I’m not even going to speak about this with you,” I said. “It was your idea, and if you’re left with the bill, the only one to blame is you!”

Now, here I am, a few weeks after the phone incident, and he’s telling me he wants to be on the same page. “Yea, right.

I told him he could come over before my son arrived from school. When my son came in, he walked around the dining room, as if it would be easier somehow, to approach me from another direction. Perhaps he thought, he’d ambush me. But it was clear, when he came in, that I was the one he was afraid to face.

Then his dad had to open his mouth and say, “Look at his haircut. Isn’t it cool?” “I don’t care about his hair right now!” I said. And I began to address the reason for his referral at school. As I discussed it with him, his dad seemed to be smirking, as he asked, “Oh, were you making those noises that you make with Brandon, all the time?” This was an obvious attempt at trying to show me that his dad, knows about some funny little sounds that him and Brandon make together. He get’s silly with trying to impress me, that he knows, things or people, in my children’s lives. I grow weary of this and continue on my quest to make my son aware of the seriousness of his behavior. “Look, you’re bright and extremely witty. There’s no doubt about this. But there is a time and a place for this. And when a teacher is devoting their time to teach a class, you need to respect them and be quiet.” Then his dad continues, “Are you the class clown?” Now it’s clear that he’s proud and I’m getting more irritated. I just wish I would have handled this by myself.

Now my son is upset because I told him, his priviledges are to be revoked until he can be trusted. I reminded him that just recently he had told me that I needed to trust him more. “So this is how you prove that you are trustworthy?” I ask. He hangs his head and I see he is beginning to understand the consequences.

After telling him what his consequences are, I focus on his haircut. I am now, wondering, “Why in the world would he get his hair cut like this?” I said, “Is this the look you were going for?” “What do you mean?” He asks me. “Well, you have the exact same cut as Jim Carey in the movie, Dumb and Dumber.” I’m thinking this could even be the reason for his behavior. It’s kind of amusing, because he doesn’t seem to embarrass, easily. I remember being at a teacher’s conference years ago, and the comparison she made with my son and Jim Carey. All the while in the meeting, I was thinking she was asking for trouble with those comments. My son was sitting with us, as she remarked, “You know what though? He is funny. I can see him on stage in the future.” “Yes,” I thought, “that’s great. But let me just get through these teenage years, first.”

Now, my son is saying, “Really? You think this looks bad?” Well, I know I could lie, but he doesn’t lie to me. And in my house, we all do strange things with our hair. So I told him. “Well, especially with that tooth, that you just lost. You really look straight out of that movie.” His dad, now clearly deflated, said, “You don’t like it?”

Then I reminded my son of this very similar experience, years ago. Remember when I had come home from a trip and your dad took you to get your hair cut? You came home with a mullet! And when I said this, you said, “Cut it off!” That was so funny, I had to get a scissors and fix it immediately.”

This was exactly the same. He went off to school and upon returning, he told me, “I need to get this fixed!” I was cracking up. But he started getting some mileage. He knew that the whole hair thing was making me laugh. So he started imitating characters.

Last night we went outside. I sat with my mom and he said he wanted to play hide and seek. I finally conceded. Thinking that I was right in front of him, I hid behind a tree. As he moved up and down the sidewalk, I turned around the tree. He went in the house to grab a flashlight. Now I watched where the light reflected, which made it easier for me to know exactly where he was.

Finally after about 20 minutes of looking, he announced, “I give up!” I stepped from behind the tree and he was amazed. “I need a ‘gillie suit,’ when I play this with you. You’re good!” Clearly, he’s been playing, “Modern Warfare,” way too much. “Yea, all your tactical stuff doesn’t work with me, does it?” I ask. Besides, I’ve always told you that Psyops, is where it’s at. You have to use your mind to outsmart the enemy!” I’m drawing on the old ‘home-school’ methods. This is an excellent teachable moment. And I’m speaking his language.

Of course, he hid in the same place three times in a row. He told me “it was a strategy,” as if I would fall for that old trick. Then he hid in a tree, and just as I was telling my mom, “You have to rely on all your senses. Sight, sound, then…..a little twig, cracked. I heard it across the street. Guess, I don’t need that Beltone hearing aid, yet. Even though I got an official looking notice in the mail. I think it’s sent to all the 50 somethings.  As I walked over, I looked up, and there he was, in the tree.

I hid again, behind the neighbors tree and did the same thing. He had his flashlight, and I could watch for shadows and light. He had to give up once again, and just couldn’t believe I was right in front of him. “Man, you’re really good at this!” I told him when I was really young, we lived in a project and the whole neighborhood would play a game called, “Chase.” We would hide everywhere, but there was one place on a porch that you could sit, if you wanted immunity. I told him about how his grandma was chasing all of us down the street, and yelling at us to get in the house. Because it was past our bedtime. I still remember a group of us running from my mom, and she was laughing as I was telling my son about this.

We would be hiding up in trees and behind dumpsters. We were very creative. Now, I’m watching my son and thinking he would have never made it back in the day. Then I thought of my mom and how she’s aged. But children playing seems to be the common denominator in all of us. She was getting such a kick out of watching us. It made me think of one of my favorite episodes of Twilight Zone. It was a group of old people from a nursing home. They went out to play ‘Kick the Can.’ And as they played, they all became young children again.

Dumber

Now my son is imitating Jim Carey, before he gets his hair fixed. I’m laughing so hard I can’t stop. He was dancing around and showing his missing tooth. I have to admit, he has a gift. As I watch my mom, I think of these priceless moments.

Later, we saw a commercial which is another one, that we hate. It’s so cheesy that it’s hilarious. It’s Matthew McConaughey, in formal attire. Photographer’s everywhere, snapping his picture. He’s wearing sunglasses, (nighttime) and it’s obvious that he’s enjoying all the attention. He takes off his glasses, slumps into a chair, and turns with a really cocky, goofy smile. It’s all about a cologne and the idea is that you have to be super celebrity, cool to wear this. Or at least, people will think you are. The whole thing is so over the top and pretentious, that I crack up, every time I see it.

I am now in the kitchen and I look up to hear my son, humming this music. As I look up, I see him, swagger through the door, wearing a suit. He has his hair, combed straight down, to really show off the imperfect bowl shape. He sits in the chair. He looks down, just like Matthew McConaughey. Making sure to open the side of his mouth to show the missing tooth. It’s beyond hilarious. I wished I had the video. So I think to myself, “you know, it takes an awful lot of intelligence to be Dumber, than the likes of Jim Carey and Matthew McConaughey. This one has to be the Dumbest, act by far!

I Surrender


I have been watching my mom and it seems that she is slowing down. Is this my imagination? Living with her each day, has presented challenges. Then I wonder, is it similar to my son’s growth? It’s such a constant, that it’s difficult to notice. But then suddenly, he seems to be taller.

My mom, hasn’t been the easiest person to live with. She is very opinionated, and can be mean. I’ve taken the brunt of this, for most of my life. And she’s as stubborn as a person can be. She refuses the help she needs and then when I see her struggle and try to lend a hand, she’s say’s “well, if you want to help, I’ll let you.”

It’s difficult to remember that she’s been this way all of her life. She’s very insecure and I realize this is the reason for her attitude. She’s never wrong. Yet, she doesn’t mind telling someone else that they are wrong.

Yesterday she had watched a commercial and I heard her make a sound of pure disgust, at the use of the word, “Caramel.” “What’s wrong mom?” I asked. “That’s not how you say, “Caramel!” She said. Well, mom, you can pronounce it with a long ‘A’ or short, ‘A.’ “Either way is acceptable.” I tell her. Already knowing that she is not going to believe me. “Oh come on. That’s wrong!” She tells me. “Mom, it’s in the dictionary. Just like the word, ‘often.’ Some people pronounce the ‘t,’ and some pronounce it with a silent, ‘t.’ And like ‘Aunt, which is really pronounced, awnt, but some people have pronounced it, ‘ant,’ like the ant on the ground. I only pronounced it that way, because this is how you referred to your aunt’s and mine.” Now I can see she’s just irritated. “Well, even if it’s in the dictionary, it’s only been placed there recently!”

Oh, this is how she get’s around everything. So I decide it’s time to drop it. “Ok,” I said. “But it’s nothing for you to get upset about.” “I’m not upset!” She says, because she wants to keep the argument going.

I wonder at this. I believe she was dismissed as a child, and it has a lot to do with her own self-image.This is why she is so judgmental, and opinionated. When I think about this, I feel sad.

I ask her if she would like to go out to the store with me. It is my way of getting her to move her bones. Although, after getting into the crazy holiday shopper’s, I become rather nervous.She is eager to come along, because, as she states, “I need to buy Christmas gifts.” I know she loves to buy little gifts for everyone, so I think this is a fun trip for her.

She refuses any help, besides the use of my arm. And as we walk, I feel her grip, loosen and tighten. At times, I clamp her little hand, into my arm, as tight as I can. I am worried that some rude person is just going to plow her down, or her grip is going to slip. I can feel how small she is, and how much slower she is walking. After a short time she proclaims, “Are we almost done? I would like to buy your gift with you. Cause I’m not going out again.” I tell her,”Mom, you don’t need to get me a gift.” “Of course I don’t!” She says, “That’s why it’s called ‘a gift!” As if I’ve just said the stupidest thing ever. I see that she can only handle very short trips now.

I think back to my placement in, The Children’s Home, when I was a child. After her breakdown, we were placed in this home. I believed I would never be reunited with my mother. I would cry at the separation from all of my siblings and my mother. I had already lost my father in the divorce.

A woman nurse, would rock me in a chair and comfort me, with words, of reassurance, “Don’t worry. You’ll see your mother again.” She would say.

Now, I am beginning to experience that same sadness. I’m facing her exit and watching her slowly going through that door. I feel as if my arm can hold her little hand’s to prevent it from happening. I am angry that I have to watch, as a spectator. I would rather she lived all by herself and just fade away. But then I know that I would be too worried to allow this.

I bought her a new calendar. She’s been checking off the day’s since she came to my home. It breaks my heart. Marking off time, like this reminds me of people in prison or hospitals. My brother did this, when he was in the hospital. I still remember the calendar, facing his bed, with the little black x’s, through each day. Until the last two days. Time stood still. He believed he was going to move down to live by me. I had a place for him and my mother, and then he went to his eternal home.

I was trying to imagine why my mother seemed to hate living in Florida so much. And I think that one reason, is my brother’s death. Before this, she loved Florida, and planned to move here. But after his death, she came down to spend some time with me, and she hated being here. I’ve always thought that it was, “empty nest,’ syndrome. And now that she has two son’s, buried in Wisconsin, she has a longing to return.

But now, I am starting to see her appetite decreasing. As I urge her to eat, she tells me she isn’t hungry. I have resorted to giving her supplement drinks. Along with a little food here and there. She’s losing ground. I can’t stand to see this, happening.

The constant reminder’s, that she will be moving back to Milwaukee, are not as frequent. It seems, just a few weeks ago, she went to my daughter, and asked her, if she could fly her back.” “I didn’t know what to tell her.” My daughter said. “Doesn’t she realize once we’ve landed, that she doesn’t have a place to live?” “No.” I said. “She isn’t thinking about that.” My daughter told me, “mom, when you are gone, she tells me that she wishes you would stay gone.” She said, “Your mom, is annoying.” I laughed. “Don’t let it bother you. She needs me more than she’s willing to admit.”

Sure enough. I flew home from my trip the other day. I didn’t get home until 2pm. As I walked into the house, I noticed my daughter’s car, but it was silent inside. I went into the family room, and there was my mom, sleeping on the couch. “Mom, is everything ok?” I asked. She got up in a fog. “Oh, I’m fine.” I realized that the tv, was not turned on. And I know she can’t understand how to use the remote, even though, I’ve shown her, it’s only one button to turn it on and off. It is understood, that this tv, must be on channel 6, for her, when I leave, so she can watch her ‘story.’ Apparently someone, didn’t turn it on for her. Neither, did my daughter make her coffee.

I went upstairs to reprimand my daughter. “Look, all you had to do was make sure the tv was on for her and make her coffee. If you worked late and you’re tired, just get up to take care of this and go back to bed.” Well, I guess, this would be one reason, that my mom was happy I was home, regardless of how annoying I am.

I’m trying to learn to ‘let go.’ My son told me that I need to trust him more. He’s right. It’s difficult, but I’ve been working on it. I realized that my daughter needs a good firm push out of the nest.

But the most difficult time I’m having now, is accepting what is happening with my mother. I am asking the Lord to give me strength for that time. I know that He takes care of everything, but my heart is breaking.

I took a survey the other day. It asked questions about abandonment, and trauma’s. I had to answer that I’ve experienced everything on that list. But it hasn’t gotten easier. I’m trusting the Lord with my heart, and I realize that this is the greatest faith, I can have. It’s a fearful thing to place my heart in His hands. I know He understands the wounds which have caused this. And I know He is helping me to take a step in faith.

Still, when I’m alone, I find myself grieving. It’s all the sadness from my past and my present, enveloping me. And then, I feel Him. Holding me and speaking words of love. Just as that nurse did, so many years ago. He reminds me that He will protect me, just as He always has. And He will do this for my loved ones, as well.

“When I am afraid, I will trust in Him.”

Please Don’t Try To Rap!


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Ok, I’m upset that today, my son told me he didn’t want to go to the Christmas ceremony, at our City Hall. Well, not that he didn’t want to go, but that he didn’t want to go with, “his mom, and grandma, because it’s dorky!” 

“Oh, really? So, you are now at an age, where, it’s dorky, to be seen with your mom and grandma?” “Well yea!” He says, as if I should just know when he’s hit that magic number. He tells me that, “all my friends will be there ,and they won’t be with their parents.” “Why wouldn’t they be?” I ask. “If they’re going by themselves, that’s just to start trouble.”Wow. Now I’m really turning into a stern parent. When I tell him that he can just come with us, and go hang out with his friends, he responds, “My friends wouldn’t just go there to hang out!” Ok, now I’m confused.

I realize that my mom, really can’t get around that well, and thought, she’d just enjoy looking at the lights. But I have to admit, it wasn’t the greatest thing to take her to. I drove up to a good spot in front of the City Hall. But as I went around to retrieve my mom, I saw swarms of teenagers, everywhere. And they were running like they were late for something. You know they sure wouldn’t be doing that for a class! So, I surmised that, they had all their little cliques, and my mom and I had wandered smack, dab into the feeding frenzy. These kids were, standing in mobs..

At one point, as my mom had her ‘death-grip,’ on my arm, a crowd of girls, were standing right in front of us on the sidewalk. We seemed to be invisible, as I said, “Hello!” “Oh,” a girl said, “Sorry.”

I began to think, “where are these kids parents?” When I looked around, I saw some people my age, and they were all kind of hanging together as well.And I could swear, smelled the distinct odor of alcohol, as I walked by many of them. Not the kids, the parent’s.It made me think of the remark one of my friends made, after seeing my son run head-first into a big bunch of sand as soon as we arrived to our hotel. He got up and was covered. “I firmly believe that every mother should have a flask, strapped to her belt.” She said.

I thought, “those are probably the parents, and I can’t say I blame them. I wouldn’t want to hang with my son either. Not when I see these crazy kids, running in packs. I would definitely gravitate to friends my own age. Another sympathetic person, of an aging parent, and a  teen. Yes, I can see why the need to bond, with someone in the midst of this madness.

I navigated my mom through the chaotic scene. Each time some kids came running past, I felt her grip my arm, tighter. I just wanted her to see some pretty Christmas decorations. As she’s constantly telling me that, “it doesn’t feel like Christmas, if their isn’t snow.”

Upon returning home, I shared with my son. “Hey, I saw your friends.” “How do you know?” He asked. “Cause, they were all a bunch of punks!” I said. And I started laughing. “You should have seen them. And they weren’t with their parents. They were just hanging out, causing trouble, like I told you. Geesh! They almost knocked your grandma down a few times.”

Now, he said, “Told you!” Ok, I had to concede. He was right. I didn’t want him there. But as he stands over me, it’s hard to let go. Now, he stands on his toes, and he’s towering above me. “Hey, mom. In a few more months, I’m going to be wayyyy, over your head!” As if this is proof of his maturity. Now he picks me up. Oh, doesn’t every boy love to do this to his mom?

I realized, he’s really growing up. I always want to give him kisses, or hugs, and that’s another, no-no, in the general vicinity of his friends. I get it. But I guilt him anyway. Just because that’s a mom’s job. “Hey, we only get just so many kisses and hugs, in our lives, and then it’s done.” But I’m starting to see that this, is losing it’s levity as well. I’ve got to come up with a new game-plan.

Now I’m sitting quietly with my mom. I watch her, and  try tothink back to when I stopped, participating in my life with her. When was it, ‘not cool?’  I was pretty young. Actually, about my son’s age. I still remember, her bringing us back from Lake Michigan. We had gone down to the lake-front, on a nice summer day. Now, looking back, it was quite a feat, for my mom, with all of us. And, on a bus.

Yet, when we were at the lake, I heard music playing from down the beach. I wandered off. I came to a place, which would become my favorite hang-out, a few years later. ‘The Site,’ as it was called. Here, a  rock band was playing. I still remember,the name; Sigmund Snopek. One of the guys was just flirting with me, and I was so giddy. A teenage girl, with so much attention, from this older guy. And he was a rock star. Well, at least, that’s what it seemed to me.

Well, on the way home, we were standing on a street corner, when we heard loud yelling. We were amazed, to see a guy being tossed out onto the street, from a bar, appropriately named, Hooligan’s.’ Now this is a place, I want to visit. My brother and I both laughed at this, and decided, that it looked like a really fun place to be.

I think of the passage of time, as I watch my mom and the difficulty she has, with just the little things. Then I begin to wonder, if I have any hopes of depending on my son or daughter, when I get like this. I sure hope they store some of this in ‘the archives,’ so when I have just a few marbles, they will remember, “Oh, yea, I remember what mom did, when grandma was losing it.” Then hoping they have the compassion to put some of this into action. But, it’s really a crap shoot.I’ve only got two. And my mom, had a whole bunch, but in the end, just one, to rely on. The odd’s are not in my favor.

Now a commercial comes on. That annoying AFLAC, commercial. It’s a guy, my age,which means, old) trying to rap. With a bunch of stupid,  fake,animals. It makes no sense, and my son and I crack up, every time we see it. Who came up with this? Another group of overpaid, ad exec’s with a power-point presentation. And no one had the guts to say, “This sucks.”

The duck used to be bad enough, but now, a rapping menagerie. And the words, are terrible. They don’t have the correct rythym. I said, He says, “There’s just something major medical, doesn’t do.” When it’s perfectly obvious, to anyone writing rap, it should have another word. Like, “There’s something’s, major medical… just doesn’t do.’

It’s irritating enough, just to see a stupid frog on a lilly pad, singing, but this is just beyond, hoaky! But then, maybe that’s the point. I started to think, it’s the last frontier, between my son and I. We both agree it is so ridiculous, so that’s proof, that I’m not that old or dorky.

It is also a moment of bonding between my mother and I, because she’s just as annoyed by this. So, perhaps, this is the really effective part of this commercial. It annoys all kinds of people, of all ages, and it brings us together in agreement.

My son imitates it constantly. Out of the blue, he’ll say, “Hey mom…”there’s just some things, major medical, doesn’t do.” I laugh each time he says, it, because he know’s it is so obnoxious.

So now, I think, there just may be some hope for me. He tell’s me, “Women belong in the kitchen.” He will say things that he knows are ridiculous, just to make me laugh. But knowing that we have a full on  agreement on some things, gives me a little glimmer of hope. I entertain it for a minute. “Perhaps, I won’t just be a little old woman with a bunch of cats.” Then I snap back to reality. Better get that AFLAC, in place.