Monday, August 27, 2012

Errands with G'ma

I used to laugh at the old people sitting in the cars outside the dry cleaner or the drug store.  On a hot or a cold day, the cars would be running so that the temperature inside was just right.  I wondered who the responsible parties could be.... who would leave a running car with a passenger sitting shotgun?  Now, the answer is clear - it is I.

I arrived at the pod castle late in the morning, to find my mom up and watching The History Channel.  There was nary a remote-control-tv-component-device to be found; in two rooms there are not many hiding places. It was altogether possible that she brought the damn thing it out to the dining room with her and left it there, unwittingly.  Last spring, I found her glasses atop her knee-high-hose in the closet; she forgot to put them back on after removing them to change into her nightgown.

Since this has been an on-going issue in the pod-castle, I found sympathetic ears attached to the staff's clever minds.Most likely, we imagined, one of the wandering residents had joined her for viewing and left with the device.  I was sent to Suite #8, where Arne's family had crafted a solution that might just keep the device near to hand. With the design in mind for my brother's arrival and technical expertise, I returned to G'ma's room to find her holding the remote which the aide had located - in the bathroom.

I really don't like being reminded of my mother's steady decline.

We fussed with batteries and a dual system and it's fine until Comcast comes out this week and gives us the correct equipment and by this time none of us wanted a fashion show from the closet for the wedding.  G'ma and I limped and pushed our way out the door and into the Schnozz.  I promised her lunch if she'd keep me company while I ran my errands.

"As long as I don't have to get out of the car," was her only request, so I became one of those people who left their oldster in the car while they just ran in to get a few things.  I asked her to be sure that she wasn't kidnapped, and we laughed and I left but I admit that I was kinda sorta worried. No way I am running after anything or anyone these days, even if it were my mother in my car being stolen.  And yet, there she sat and there I went.

Such is my life these days.

The dry cleaner, Goodwill, The Gardens on Campbell of the Pima County Master Gardeners - I dropped things off and picked things up and then we went to an upscale mall for a little bit of browsing and some lunch. The first saleswoman accepted our "We're just looking," with her name and an offer of help if we needed her.  Ten minutes later, the second seller was less accommodating. Interrupting our convivial chatter about nothing and everything, she kept asking questions about the event and the style and when she began whipping clothes off the racks we had passed and dismissed G'ma gave me the look.

I took the jacket the woman was waving and held it out for G'ma's inspection.  Her wrinkled nose and shaking head coupled with the glint in her eye and the saleswoman's incessant chatter let me look at the price tag - $495 - and tell my mother that the item was too expensive.

Actually, what I said was something along the lines of "You won't live long enough to amortize the cost over future events."

G'ma laughed and nodded in agreement; the saleswoman looked at me as if I had leprosy.  Her face was a mask of outrage at the crudeness of my remark.  My mother and I just laughed louder.

Fleeing the store, we crossed the parking lot past the Farmer's Market and shared a grilled cheese with tomato, fries on the side.  We chatted, again, about everything and nothing.  I told her stories about the past, why she moved from New Jersey, why I was limping, why the hostess was wearing that very unattractive dress.

She didn't want to go to the grocery store with me; "I've seen a grocery store," she said, with a twinkle and a grin.  "I want to take a nap."  When she first moved here, light-years ago, I would have argued and cajoled and pleaded and coerced her to join me, to move, to take advantage of the experience.

On Friday, I drove her home. She's nearly 90, she's old, she's tired, I've given up trying to make her be the mommy she was, the woman I remember.  I'm embracing the person in the front seat, in the here and now.  She's who I have.

She was seeing designs on the side of an unadorned white van; I'm assuming the glaucoma has something to do with that.  She spilled her iced tea on her blouse and she didn't notice the spot.  There is less of her each and every time I see her.

Yet, when she grabbed my hand and said, "NO, not death; you don't want to be associated with killing someone," I  knew that my words on the Victim's Impact Statement came from the person she'd raised me to be. For that moment, I was having lunch with my mother... and she was having lunch with me.

2 comments:

  1. You really must be careful about leaving your mother in the car. A care giver here in Fresno has been jailed and will face felony charges for leaving her oldster in the car in front of WalMart. It is now similar to child abuse.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yet, when she grabbed my hand and said, "NO, not death; you don't want to be associated with killing someone," I knew that my words on the Victim's Impact Statement came from the person she'd raised me to be. For that moment, I was having lunch with my mother... and she was having lunch with me.

    ReplyDelete

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