I've been avoiding her of late. It's not just the constant "Why are you limping?" loop. It's not the dentures that travel through her mouth like Magellan circumnavigating the globe. It's that I want to talk to who she was for a few minutes. I'm not asking for a lot of time. Just a little will do. Without it, I am bereft. Being with Little Cuter and SIR helped a lot; they are just on the wrong side of the generational curve to give me what I'm missing right now.
I want advice from someone who's been there and done that and knows what my next step should be. Even if I don't follow her advice, at least I'll have heard it. I'll know what I'm ignoring. That 's been my modus operandi since I can remember - listen to Mom and then make up my mind.
More often than not, I ignored her completely. I dated boys who drove too fast on motorcycles with me on the back; we wore helmets on her behalf. Jews and Baptists and Episcopals and Presbyterians and the fallen away of every flock spotted my dating history; you know that was never my mother's plan.
Yet, she was always on my shoulder. That was close enough, then. I'm looking for a little more of her these days.
So, when Wally-World didn't have the camera I was seeking, I headed to the pod castle instead of Target. I needed G'ma for a sorbet before I continued my quest. It was lunch time; I'd have a chance to check out the new cuisine. Rumor had it that the meals were beginning to look like real food once again. It was time for me to see for myself.
She was seated in her usual spot, with the happily married demented couple to one side and an empty space for Fran to the other. Fran was napping; I could have a slice of pie in her place. G'ma wondered why the chicken was brown. Teriyaki sauce was discussed as rice and fresh cut veggies made their way into her mouth. Mrs. Married Lady asked, again, where I was born and I answered, again, looking at G'ma for confirmation of the location, to include her in the conversation.
She shrugged. I sighed. Then I looked around the room and saw other elders being fed and I smiled as Mrs. Married Lady asked what kind of fruit was in my pie. "Blueberries and peaches" from me led to a big smile from her as she turned to her husband and said "Peachy... like you!"
Sometimes you're in the right place at the right time. I held onto that smile for the rest of the afternoon. Love will do that to me.
Shockingly, G'ma was willing to forgo her post-prandial nap and accompany me to Target. I hustled her into the car before she could change her mind. We admired the clouds and she told me I was driving too fast and not stopping for the yellow lights and following too closely and she was my mother again, except for the clacking dentures. Be careful what you wish for, I guess.
There was an electric cart in the unloading area next to the handicapped parking space and it was calling her name. She's still got left and right implanted in her memory bank, so directionality wasn't an issue. She took a turn or too too closely, but the t-shirts didn't seem to mind the little bit of sway she put into their hangars. Humans managed to get out of her way, and her enjoyment of the scene washed away frowns before they could be formed. We chose Valentines Day cards and bought mini-packs of tissues for her purse and we giggled over but didn't purchase any of the soft pink socks with hearts that were tempting me at the register. Sorry, Little Cuter........
Pie wasn't nearly enough lunch for me, so I suggested ice cream. "Drive faster!" was her reply, so I did. There's a new Dairy Queen in the neighbrohood and that's where we headed, $5.01 bringing us her sundae (all chocolate....did you really have to ask?) and my strawberry milkshake and more napkins than we needed.
Sitting there in the parking lot, sipping whipped cream and watching chocolate sauce melt into chocolate soft serve, feeling the warm breeze on my bare arms, I was 10 years old again, in the drive-thru with Mommy.
It felt really really good.