Day 4

Again, we were up at 6:30 for an early breakfast before our ride. There were two people seated when we arrived at the dining room. Mom had no hesitations about going right in to eat.
I am starting this post as I wait for 7AM PST to roll around so I can make our ferry reservation for Friday. Mom is sitting in the other part of the dining room enjoying listening to other folk’s conversation. I’m, always, hopeful for a good day.
Later… The ride was much the same. Three hours today covering beautiful, but different territory. When the wrangler asked what sort of riding we wanted to do, I deferred to mom, who said she didn’t mind. Mary, who rode with us yesterday, told Juanita that walking worked because mom wasn’t up to anything more strenuous. This was said out of mom’s earshot. Since we’ve returned, mom has complained 3 times about walking the horses, the third time saying her legs were sore because of it. I find this sort of thing SO aggravating. Each time, I reminded her that she was asked, yet did not offer an opinion. I stopped short of saying, “If you’re sore from walking on a horse for 3 hours, you did it to yourself, and had a chance not to!” I thought it really hard tho. We didn’t linger over the conversation, but I don’t think it’s over yet.
On an up note, mom is out walking around on her own for the first time since we’ve been here! That’s a really good thing, I think… Nope, she’s back. That lasted for about 10 minutes.
After a short nap, we took a long walk to the back area of the working side of the property, and found lots of cool antique gear, including a lumber mill, and tires that are taller than we are. During the walk, mom asked me the same bank account questions for the 5th time this year. That’s ok. I had the same answers and suggestions.
While hanging out with Betsy, who was taking care of 18 month old Clementine, Mom looked at me and said, “That pork was really indifferent last night. It was dry and tough.” I replied mine was just fine and I had enjoyed it. It’s funny how she can remember last night’s pork displeasing her, but can’t remember that she’s really pissed at me for not being concerned whether the ranch knows if we’re riding or not, 20 minutes after getting all worked up.
We went to the main building early and played two games of pool before dinner. I think it was the best time I’ve had the entire trip. We each lost a game. We were both pretty poor shots, but I was able to give her pointers, and some 80 year old handy caps, like letting her take shots again when she tipped the ball with her cue. It wasn’t a competition.
Dinner was good, and we were all able to sit at one table with Zella at the head and mom to her left. Lots of storytelling with mom participating. After dinner one of the ranch guys built us a fire in the great room and visited with us for 45 minutes. He, and everyone here, was wonderful at asking mom questions about her time here, what had changed, what she’s been enjoying most, etc.
We all went out to see the pack llama, Timmy, who was soon carrying a Corgi, when mom said we should go back to the cabin. I said I had an hour’s work to do and she, after having me point out our cabin, said she’d go back on her own.
I am in the dark dining room, beneath the slow, but serviceable wifi connection, with a glass of wine, writing, checking and responding to work e-mail, and printing ferry reservations to file. It’s a small break I need, and am able to allow myself without guilt.
I’m coming to grips with the fact that this is how my mother is, and will remain for the rest of her life, only the situation will go downhill from here. It’s a one way street. I naturally start each stretch of time, each day, each activity hoping things will go well. That she will be happy and therefore the rest of us will be happy. There is never a stretch of time, or day without complaint. In the four days we’ve been on the road, she hasn’t complained or kibitzed about four activities: Playing pool, tonight’s dinner and shooting skeet twice, when she had a gun in her hand! I have to build a bridge somewhere between where she’s at and where I want to be in order not to look upon my future with this despair of living moment to moment in my mom’s illogic and irascibility.

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