|In three months my mother will reach her 83rd birthday. Her health is passable, and she's as sharp as a tack, except she doesn't learn new tasks easily. Neither do I.
We speak on the phone once or twice a day, and we eat out or visit at her home every so often. It ought to be more often because neither of us has many other people in our lives. Mom does have a friend from the church who visits almost every Sunday. Mary is a blessing herself, bringing communion and conversation. She keeps Mom up on church gossip and brings her puzzles and games to occupy time.
When Mom isn't around, I know I'll miss her something awful, and I'll be extra upset with myself for not spending more time with her now. As it is, we visit when I get to her house. She doesn't like to come to my house because my big dogs jump on her. They could easily knock her 122 pounds off her feet.
We had lunch around 4:30 at IHOP. We often get in on their early bird special. She gets the French toast and hash browns, and I usually get some variation on the International Crepe breakfast. Today we both broke tradition. She had the Caesar chicken salad, and I had the Rooty Tooty special. There's something special about IHOP. The food is always good, the atmosphere quiet, and the sunlight or air conditioner can be adjusted if you ask. The waitress even warms the coffee cups with hot water before the coffee goes in. It's a good place to have comfortable conversation.
We're both tall, and often clothing is the topic of conversation. She ordered three jogging suit sets from JC Penney, so she'll either be pink or turquiose all summer. She'd gotten hemmed pants back from the tailor. I'm considering taking up sewing myself again. I'm not able to order clothes like I used to. Since I gave up my credit cards, the temptation to shop isn't so extreme. The longing for new clothes is there, but my budget doesn't allow for much extravagence. My clothes shopping probably got out of hand at some point in time, because my closet is full. I've dropped a couple of dress sizes since the good old shopping days, so not many of the clothes fit so well. It's always something.
She worries over my bipolar diagnosis. She saw an "Oprah" where bipolars were speaking panel style on their experiences. I missed the show, but she's planning to order it to have a copy. We can't really talk about my diagnosis, except she asks if I'm taking my meds. I'm between psychiatrists now, so she made sure to remind me to find a doctor. I missed my last scheduled appointment because of a chemical spill on the freeway. The doctor's office was on that path, so I call and rescheduled. It was five weeks until the next opening. I can probably find another doctor before then.
We talk about her neighbors. The lady who lives on the corner is about her age, and she has two deaf daughters. Mom had helped Maxine with income tax, and she was grateful to have saved some money. It's good to hear of the disagreements they have, then when we have a difference of opinion it's not something absolutely new and unique.
We chat about dogs also. She has a 13 year-old chow named Regal. Sometimes she misspeaks and calls the dog by my name. Regal's been getting a hair cut, a little bit at a time. I started shaping her spring hair growth one day, and she decided to take over where I left off. I always take a giant milk bone for Regal. It looks like a cigar in her mouth, and she whines and walks around until it's all eaten up. She's a good little companion. She doesn't move so fast anymore, but a chow's bark has always proven an adequate deterrent.
Mom has herself locked in, with chains on the gate and two doors to get past to go inside. I can never find the right keys going in. I think she's over-precautious, but better she feel safe. Someone walked up on her coming in at night once, and she's always been extra careful.
It's the little conversations we have that are so special. Just in an ordinary nature, the time we spend together is a blessing. She's at the age that any meeting could possibly be our last. I'm thankful that her love was stronger than the willfulness of my youth, and that we are able to share quality time together now. now.