Monday, August 4, 2008

Mother's Day Off

Someone said to me yesterday, "You really need to take care of yourself. You need at least one day off every week when you only do things that please you." She was right -- to an extent. It's back to that taking-care-of-the-caretaker issue. But one important fact had escaped me. My mother is a caretaker, too. My father sold his business 9 years ago after he was hit by a bout of dizziness that nearly made it impossible for him to function, at least for a portion of the day. Mother has been caretaking ever since -- cooking, cleaning, shopping, and doing all the other tasks involved in running the house. Daddy has had some regular chores. The floors. His own laundry. The bathroom. Some of the yard work -- like the lawns. The dishes. The garbage. But the household functions because she is here. And she has taken on that role faithfully for all this time without recognition and without respite.

Yesterday she came to me in the morning and said, "This is one of those days when I really don't feel like cooking. Can you do dinner tonight?" She added that her arthritis was bothering her a little. Not a problem. I was supposed to cook dinner today, and we had all the components in place. Besides, this was easy. Fajitas. All done at the last minute. I had invested in a package of Fajita mix from Penzey's Spices specifically to bring here. Found some locally make tortillas. Made a salad. Added fresh mango for dessert. In retrospect, a fresh mango salsa might have been interesting.

I expected that if the arthritis was a problem she would have spent the day in her chair working on her genealogy. But what did my mother do? She spent the entire day in her garden. She repotted orchids. She putzed. She checked the status of everything in the back yard. She watered. She washed some of the pots handmade by Carey D. Miller, her University of Hawaii mentor. Miss Miller grew miniature orchids, hand crafted her pots, and created her own glazes to match the blooms that the plant in that particular pot would bear. She didn't come near her chair until late in the afternoon. In short, she allowed herself a respite day.

That, my friends, is progress. My control freak mother was able to let go of her responsibilities for the day and do what pleased her. If she can finally allow me to take on some of the responsibility, at least for the day, if we can allow this to happen on a regular basis, then we can eventually transition up to the next level of letting go even if I am not here.

Look for the good. Give thanks. Keep praying.

1 comment:

  1. Aloha, Lady; hope all continues going well for you!

    Had thought about an email, but figured that this too would serve...

    It's great that your Mother got at least one day off---that helps make your being there worthwhile, I'm sure. Old folks can be an awful lot of trouble, but one must weigh that with the alternatives. Oh, how I wish I had to put up with my folks for a day!!!

    I think that one of the more valuable aspects of life is to appreciate what / who we have every day; I try to live, with regards to those I know, in a way that if they were to be gone tomorrow, I would not have to say “Oh, I so wish I had said / done so-and-so to / for them before they passed”. I have a couple such regrets with my own parents. In all the years, I don’t think I EVER told Dad that I loved him. This simply was not in his vocabulary. I wanted to say it to him for a number of years; I never got up the nerve, and now it is too late.

    I am now registered at Northern Illinois U for 6 hrs of upper division Spanish this fall; I wish the folks were here to see this, and especially if I ever get a degree. Maybe somewhere, somehow, they do know. I know that I get a great deal of enjoyment out of the classes (have been doing 6-8 hours/semester at the local Community College for the past 2 years). Of course, I must ask myself how I got so diverted all these 45 years or so ago! Interesting stuff to look at (the past), but certainly not something to dwell upon!!!!!

    The bathroom remodel plods along! Of course, I have taken some time away from it to work outside; we have had a basically beautiful summer so far. I have not done as much outside as I would have liked to have, but at least have to keep the place up. Also have been keeping the front yard next door (repossessed) mowed---just enough to keep it from detracting too much from the neighborhood. One VERY important thing I have learned from the bathroom remodel: If you EVER buy a neo-angle shower and door-set, make sure that you buy both at the same time, from the same manufacturer! I had one whale of a time getting things to work together as desired. But I did.

    Billie Jo got a really nice card from your Mother. As she (BG) said to me, the art of letter writing is a lost one, and this made your Mother’s note even more appreciated.

    For what it’s worth…I notice in your blog that you refer to “mother”, not Mom, Ma or such. I know I used to use “Mom” sometimes when talking directly to my Mother, but almost always refer to her as Mother. To me, it is respect; to many, of course, way too formal. Looking back, perhaps respect was even more important in our household than love. Mother was an absolutely wonderful lady, but Dad, God bless him, was so very, very nuts and bolts practical. I really miss em both.

    I really wish I would overcome the inertia and get started in genealogy one of these days Bonnie, but to date have been unable to do so under my own power. Wish we had a week or so for you to give me a big shove…or kick in the rear!!!

    OK, I’m going to let you go and get to what I should be doing. Pull the toilet again and get the new sub-floor in that area.
    Take care of yourself,


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