February Trip to the Island – 02/09/2016
I arrived at mom’s at 9 this morning. The kitchen smelled wonderfully of breakfast. She cheerfully answered the door asking if I’d had breakfast, clearly forgetting that we’d planned to eat together at 9am. I started to stay. “Of course not, the cabin…” and let it go. She won’t remember that I am blessed to have electricity, and feel smug being able to flush the loo with two gallons of water carried in from the truck. She was just finishing making her daily (!) omelet with lox and cream cheese, and invited me to make use of the fridge and its contents. We had a pleasant meal.
After cleaning up, she wanted to know what I wanted to get up to. I offered her a choice: Gather up tax docs, or paint the second coat of poppy red. She opted for paper. I, unnecessarily, steeled myself for, what has been in the past (at the worst) an all-out battle. She had sorted the majority of the 2015 papers in an alpha folder, and actually got it right in certain categories, some of it even stacked by date! There were also things like her visa bill that was sorted under V for Visa, A for the company the issues the card, and C for credit card! That’s ok. She was easy about me wanting to look at all the additional paper on other surfaces (5), and we tossed, filed and added to my stack. She remained calm and relaxed the entire time. I was amazed and thrilled.
The second coat of the poppy red wall was next. It was much easier today. Mom had fewer problems with the roller, yet I did find myself mopping up red paint off the floor. I washed the floor in front of the wall before we moved the furniture back and hung a painting. While the rest of the walls are still in need of TLC, this is such a boost for the look of the house.
Lunch in town was next. On our way out, she paused at the mail box, running her side view mirror into 3 mailbox handles. After lunch we went to a grocery just outside of town so mom could pick up some really good $4.49 wine. While looking for parking, I had to yell out to her that she was about to hit a woman pushing a cart. She maneuvered, managing to avoid causing bodily injury, saying she was looking over ‘there’ (for parking), and the sun was in her eyes. This is the nightmare that keeps me from sleeping. Did I witness a once in a blue moon occurrence, or is this happening all the time, and literally the Grace of God has kept her from hurting someone?
Mom has a new driving habit of down shifting her (automatic car) on what she perceives to be uneven or wet surfaces, and she puts her hand on her dash mounted gear shift every time she comes to a stop, without necessarily shifting. While I am a passenger in my mama’s vehicle as seldom as possible, I’m pretty sure this is new behavior.
Food has been interesting, as always. When I get home, I’m going to live on shrimp salads, almonds and fruit for 4 days! I know, and understand, that food and meals make up a huge part of mom’s routine. She eats a big breakfast (an egg or two wrapped around fish & cheese, toast with jam or brie, melon & juice) around 9. We had Chinese for lunch today, which she said she couldn’t finish, (but was sure to eat my fortune cookie!), around 1:30. She started preparing our dinner (prawns & pasta in a tomato sauce with hard grated cheese, and a salad) around 5:15. We ate at 7. I turned down sorbet 3 times after clearing the dishes. Mom is eating because that’s what you’re supposed to do at certain times. It’s a guiding ritual in her day. I’m used to eating when I’m hungry. The last time I spent a few days on the Island, mom was so disengaged from food that I was left hungry at the end of the day. This is a turnaround. I’m stuffed! I did note that she has gained weight since Christmas. Not a lot, but I can see it in her face. This is OK.
My RN daughter coached me to be mindful when my mom cooked for me. While dinner was great, the salad was salted to the point (she directly dresses salad), that it hurt my tongue, and my jeans will be snug tomorrow. A sign of how her taste mechanism is working.
After we finished dinner a batch of topics came up (again). They included:
· Do I have a will? (Yes, mom) What’s in it? (We discussed it).
· For dinner we used antique dishes her main author gave her many years ago. In less than 5 minutes she instructed me 3 times, ‘When these dishes come to you, you must never put them in the dishwasher…’ I finally got silly telling I’d never, ever, ever, never (repeat about 70 times) put them in the dishwasher. She thought this was pretty funny, and didn’t tell me again!
· She asked what day of the week it was 4 times.
· She asked repeatedly, what we were doing tomorrow, and then, when I reminded her I was heading home, she asked what boat I was taking, repeatedly. The worst, and this is what made me decide it was time for me to head out for the night (because at the moment I can), was:
Mom: What are we doing tomorrow? (For about the 5th time this evening)
Me: I’m taking the 12PM boat.
Mom: So, what do you want to get up to over the next few days?
Me: Mom, I have to head back to the mainland tomorrow.
Mom: Oh, oh, I know.
She wasn’t asking what I wanted to get up to when I returned home.