I Still Get To Eat Dinner With My Mom: Write 31 Days

31 days of JoyWrite 31 Days

I walked into the hospital room, and was shocked by what I saw.  A old lady lie in the bed, mouth open, eyes rolled up toward the ceiling, sheet pulled up to the chin over the withered, disease-torn body.  I hardly recognized my mother.  How did this happen in 5 short months?  The doctors were stumped and couldn’t find any answers as my Mom wasted away.  They chased cancer, pulmonary arterial hypertension, and several other diagnosis.  None were confirmed.

That was 14 months ago.  We thought we would bury Mom before summer’s end.  We prayed to God; we cried out to one another; and we complained to the doctors.  “Why can’t you figure this out?”

20151014_173050Today I spent the afternoon with Mom in her new apartment at an assisted living facility.  After I was there for about an hour, she asked if I wanted to eat dinner with her.  “Sure, I would love to”.

When the doctors finally figured out what was wrong with her, my Mom’s near-death situation improved quickly.  I feel completely blessed that my Mom is still here with us.

No grumbling today.  No complaining.  Thank you, Lord.

I love you, Mom.

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Motherhood Is Like A Dance: Step In, Step back, Step Out, Step In

Thoughts about mothers and daughters and their relationships consume me these days.  Motherhood is something most of us ask for and wish for; we enter willingly and with anticipation.   We almost go into it lightly and casually.   There should be classes, a degree, or a council of “Wise Old Mothers” to teach, train and warn:

This will be the best thing you ever do. 

This will be the hardest thing you ever do. 

This will be the thing you ALWAYS do. 

Motherhood is forever. 

Motherhood should come with a warning.

But daughters?  Well, we didn’t have much choice in the matter.  But classes along the way might be helpful.  Right about now, I’d take a 0317001517PHD in daughterhood.

I am “sandwiched” between generations — a triple-decker club.  Mother, children and grandchildren.   Nothing really unique about that, I guess, as many women my age share the roles I am playing right now.  But when it is your personal script, the emotions, changes, and role reversals are fresh and new and very complex.

You wonder how the women before you have done this.

And why didn’t you pay better attention.

gochenaurs-4152My youngest child is packing up everything she owns for her last semester of college.  I watch as closets are emptied, books are piled, drawers are scattered.  Emotions run deep.  I am happy for her.   The timing is right.   She has been an easy child.  Wise beyond her years.  Independent.  But there is a sadness too.  She has been away at college for three years, and it’s not like we will be new at this empty nest thing, but this seems final.

Everything she owns.

Wait!  I’m not ready to let her go.  I know I didn’t teach her enough.  I have so much more to say.

But she is an adult now.  Almost 22 years old.  No longer a child.  Roles…changing…

As she packs, my own mother is awaiting admittance to an Assisted Living Facility.  She has been living in my home for 4 months.  I have been her caregiver.   She has had health issues for a year now with one major surgery and then a simple condition that wasn’t diagnosed correctly.  It was missed.  The simple condition turned deadly, and months and months of illness followed which wrecked havoc on her body and her mind.   The issue has finally been addressed, and treated, but her body and mind are slow to recover.  She is now half-well/half-sick.  She was much easier to care for when she was very ill.  She is sick and tired of being sick and tired, and she just wants to go home.  And the doctors have said no.  Each day, it is more challenging to care for her in my home.  I can give her so much, but I cannot give her the one thing she wants — home.

I am trying to care for my mother.  Roles…. changing… reversed….Emotions run deep.

There were 4 children running, playing, and napping in my house yesterday.  It was chaos.  Wonderful, loud chaos.  Snacks. Bottles. Booboos. Squabbles. Diapers. Lunch.  I have the privilege of keeping these grandchildren two days a week, and I love those kiddos like my own.   I try to assume my part as Gramma — and not caregiver — whenever their Mama is around, but sometimes the roles get a little grandkiddosblurred.   I know sometimes I overstep.  Where the heck is that Gramma manual?

That daughter is the mother now.   She gets this season to teach and train.  Roles….

It is amazing to watch your own daughter become a mother.  She seems to do it so naturally.  Is it easier for her or is she wanting a motherhood degree herself now?  She is part of the “sandwich” as her focus is on those children yet she keeps looking back at me.

‘Mom, you doing okay?’  She wants to take care of me.

The dance continues…

Emotions again… running.

 

 

 

 

5 Reasons Your Mom Won’t Come To Easter Dinner

5-reasons-to-go-google1Talking with a friend recently, she shared her disappointment when her mom didn’t want to come to Easter dinner.  “She’d rather sit home alone than spend the day with family?!”    Since that conversation, I’ve done some thinking about it.    Here are just 5 reasons that Mom (or Gramma) may not want to come to Easter dinner:

1.  She is afraid of falling.  She knows her own turf.  She is confident and knows where to be extra careful in her house and even her garage.  She doesn’t know your terrain, and it makes her nervous.  She knows a fall could be deadly for her.

2.  Her bathroom habits have changed in recent years and are a bit unpredictable.  She is embarrassed, but doesn’t want to talk about it.

3.  The conversation in a big group is confusing.  It is too fast, and either too loud or too soft.  It is often about subjects she does not understand such as social media, smartphones or current movies.  It makes her feel unimportant and lost.

4.  She feels secure in her own environment and in her own routine.  She is very uncomfortable out of those surroundings.

5.  Her world has gotten smaller and smaller over the years.  The noise and space and people at a large family gathering cause her anxiety.  Even though she loves these daughters, sons and grandchildren, the party-like atmosphere is often more than she can handle.

It’s hard to say what I will and won’t do when I’m over 85 years old.  I know I don’t do some things now I use to do when I was 25 or even 35.  So probably thirty years from now, I will have more things on my “don’t do” list than on my “to do” list.

Maybe we should look for ways to be creative with the elderly women (or men) in our lives.  And when they decline a special dinner at our house, we could reply,  “How about lunch one day earlier this week instead — just the two of us?”