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.