I just spent a week with my Mom in the hospital for a broken wrist. It was a hard fall and at 85 breaks and surgery get real serious, real fast. It was very difficult for mom and for me too. But I can’t deny that she’s a drama queen and when she has an audience she likes to perform. Because of her age and her sweet little old lady demeanor, she gets away with murder.
She had names for the various staff who cared for her; Doogie Howser, Justin Beiber (it was the hair), Queen Latifa, BarBarBarBarBaran, and George (from Seinfeld). When the Physical Therapist didn’t look too happy about being called George Costanza she tried to make him feel better by telling him she adores that character. She told him she loved George because of his ineptitude and because he couldn’t get a date. Poor George, I never did learn that therapist’s name.
Doogie Howser came to ask her questions to make sure she was informed and ready for her upcoming surgery. I appreciated the time he spent especially when her answers were long and had nothing to do with the question. I knew he was about to ask her about Do Not Resuscitate orders when he said he had a final important question to ask her. That’s when she said, “You want to know if I still have sex?!” He actually blushed.
The Chaplin was a small quiet man whose hands stayed in his pockets. It was the end of the day and you could tell we were the last stop and he was ready to go home. He asked mom if she would like him to say a prayer for her. After she said yes, he wanted to know if there was anything she would like him to pray for. He was not expecting her to say World Peace in her best beauty pageant voice. “Let us pray for Jimmie’s health…and for world peace.” I kept my head bowed to try to hide my laughter.
My sweetie came to stay with her while I went home to catch up on sleep and take a shower. When she complained to him that I was cranky, he explained to her that I had not left her side all week and one doesn’t really get any sleep in a hospital at night. The next night when mom called for the nurse, she explained in a loud whisper, “SSSSHHHH, DON’T WAKE MY DAUGHTER, SHE GETS CRANKY WHEN SHE DOESN’T HAVE HER BEAUTY SLEEP.”
My daughter came for a visit and she helped me to see humor in my mom accusing me of smoking marijuana in the room, when in fact she was the one on morphine. When Mom accused me randomly at 6:00 AM, I didn’t find it funny, but my drug of choice, caffeine, hadn’t kicked in yet.
So why would I treasure this moment in time, when in reality it was a very difficult week? Once I caught up on sleep I realized it was a week filled with love and not just outrageous things mom said. When Mom was first admitted she waited hours on a gurney in the ER hallway waiting to find out how bad her injury was. Vulnerable, in pain, unable to move in a neck brace and not even allowed to take a sip of water to quench her thirst, she was very scared. She only had me to keep her calm. I started reading my blog to her from my phone. She loves my writing, especially when I write about her. My blog is filled with stories of my family, both sentimental and quirky. I could see her visibly relax as I read post after post.
Mother to daughter—l’m now mothering my mom. When my adult daughter came up to visit her Nana, we all three came up with a list of people that needed to receive her college graduation announcements and who needed to come to her graduation party. With a bittersweet joy I knew to savor that moment. At 85, every day with my mom is precious. And I don’t know how much longer my daughter will be able to drop by before she flies away on her own life’s journey, far away from home.
Gifts from the Universe come in unexpected packages. I’m grateful for this year’s Mother’s Day gift. I’m a grateful mom and a daughter sandwiched with love between generations.
I honor my maternal lineage: I am Connie Lee, daughter of Jimmie Dee, daughter of Jimmie Corrine, daughter of Minnie Mae; mother of Jade Lee-Mei.
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