Tuesday, July 31, 2012

elder encounters - a field guide........

god, they look innocent enough. sweet, docile, fragile.....but don't be fooled, they will take you out.

well, the visit is over and i survived. sure, there are parts of my self-esteem i may never have feeling in again but the important part is i'm alive.

 42 days of observation and inspection. 42 days my answers never matching what i'm thinking. 42 days of internal laughter. 6 of those days were golden. my susan came all the way from the sea to visit and accompany mom home.

susan and i planned a little trip to canadian rockies. we set off much like we did when we were teenagers. a destination in mind but no firm plans. just drive and enjoy each other's company. and to keep us out of trouble my 13 year old daughter in the backseat.

mom was a bit put out about not going on the trip to the mountains. she didn't want to go because as she says "once you've seen them, the mountains all look the same". but the fact that people were off having a laugh and a look left her pissy. she predicted terrible weather and our demise. the trip was lovely, everything a mini break should be. loud music, beautiful scenery, talking and laughing and laughing and laughing. upon returning i had to give mom a detailed report of our actions. i was ready. my mother loves counting things. she's a kind of geriatric, lady rain man. i had numbers for her. the number of times i filled the gas tank, the price of the chalet, the price of bottled water, the number of kilometers i put on the car and so on and so on but the pride of my report was my animal report. i thought i am going to impress the women with these numbers. big mistake.

me: we saw 3 black bears, 5 elk, 3 deer, mountain 1 mountain sheep, 15 mountain goats and a grizzly bear
mom; that's nothing, do you know what walter and barb saw when they went last week?

me: (quickly deflating) no what?
mom: they saw 4 wolf puppies playing on the side of the road
in my head i thinking wolf puppies, are you f**king  kidding me. they saw 4 god damn wild wolf puppies frolicking in the ditch. jesus, jesus, jesus.

out loud i said... cool

never let them see you sweat.

in the end getting my charge to the airport proved to be a bit of a challenge. the weather was wicked - torrential rain, lightning, tornado warnings. mom was nervous and fretting which equals cranky. i felt bad but i was very tired.

me:  it will be alright mom. i'm sure the storm will be over before your plane goes out
mom:  well, could you tell me when you became a weatherman. you don't anything about when this storm will be over

me: we'll get to the airport mom
(what i'm really saying is we'll get to the airport if i have to body surf the whole way with you on my back)
mom: i guess we'll see about that. i'm not going anywhere if it's not safe.

me: hmmm mom, do you have any of your little yellow pills in your purse.
mom: why would you think i need a pill. i'm fine. it's you that might need a pill, you have to drive.

me: mom i'm going to make you a cup of sweet tea.
mom: that's what i'm saying, i need a cup of tea.

now i don't recommend people do this at home. don't judge me - the situation warranted some intervention.

so i got busy making the brew and i ground up a tylenol 3 and put it in the tea with the sugar. i know drugs are bad and you shouldn't drug other people but i was walking a thin line between exhaustion and hysteria.

me: here's your tea mom
mom: well, it's about time

fast forward to the airport.
i am assisting mom at the check in counter.

mom: i need a wheelchair
me: i will get you a wheel chair - right now i'm getting you a seat.

mom: i want a bulkhead seat
me: they are full.

mom: full, i need one. where is my wheel chair.
me: you don't need a wheelchair yet. we not moving. you can go sit down on the bench if you're tired.

mom: sit on the bench. if i go sit over there you'll have me sitting at the back of the plane. i want a wheelchair
me: fine.

go get wheelchair

me: better
mom: well i'd like to know how long it takes to get a seat on that plane.

move to security

security guy: do you have any laptops or tablets
mom: what is he saying.
me: no (to the security guy)
me: he's asking if you have a computer.
mom: a computer, why would i have a computer i'm 87 years old. i have a boarding pass.(waving it around)

security guy: do you have any liquids
mom: what's he saying
me: no ( to security guy)
me: he's asking if you have any liquids
mom: liquids, i have to buy water if you don't mind. i can't bring my own water because they think i might be a terrorist. i have my boarding pass ( waving it around)

in my head i'm starting to think this is getting a bit absurd. i feel like i'm in a comedy routine and
it's about this time that it dawns on me that mom is stoned.  jesus, i have gotten my mother high. well this changes everything, i have a slight bit of panic but then i think christ if my mom can handle chemotherapy surely one tylenol 3 will be ok.

security guy: you can only accompany your mother to the red line. from there a airline escort will see her safely onto the plane.
me: excellent

security guy: your mother can either be physically searched in the wheel chair or if she's able she can walk through the scanner.
mom: well i guess, i can walk,

she springs up out of that chair like a Olympic gymnast. the security guy and i exchange a look usually reserved for indulgent parents. i hand mom her coat

mom: i've got to go. i had a nice time. i love you dear
me: i had a nice time to and i love you too.

and off she trotted. i looked over and saw that susan had cleared security and she and the airline attendant were closing in on mom. my mom was holding her boarding pass like a flag bearer and asking where her wheel chair was. i turned and walked away.

mother and i parted on good terms but we were both weary. her from the weight of her winning gold medal. me from the thankless job of hosting the games.  there was no elaborate closing ceremony, no soppy good bye. a hurried hug at security with no backward glances. our eyes instead focused on the exit. both of us realize that we do better apart. long distance love.



  1. oh Bev, so funny, and touching. You've got to be exhausted!

    ...but about that pic up top, hate to say it, but they do not look sweet and docile. Two of those women look exactly like my grandmother, and praying she is resting in peace, she was ANYTHING BUT!

    1. thanks rhonda, i am tired. i slept for almost 2 days after mom left. mom on the other hand is at home making cakes and washing her ceilings. xx

  2. You really have a talent for telling a story, this is both funny and poignant, I really enjoy reading your blog. :)

    1. thank you so much. i really appreciate you taking the time to read and oomment on my posts. i means a lot to me.

  3. This was bloody funny, I think it is so funny the way you write about how you interact with you mum is just so bloody funny.....

    1. thank you jo-anne. i have to find the funny in mom or who knows what would happen. thanks for taking the time to comment

  4. On one hand, it's sad when parents and their adult childern do better the farther apart they are. On the other hand, this is so frakin funny, I forget to feel a little sad for your relationship and instead feel tons of relief for you that she went home! WONDERFUL story!

    1. thank you chris. i am weary but it is wonderful to rediscover how lovely your life is when the house gets back to "normal" xxx

  5. Your writing is brilliant! Sad, funny, frustratingly spot on in many familial relationships, especially mother-daughter, the one we all want to hold so dear and seems to damned elusive. I was right there with you through every moment - been there, done that but didn't have the voice to put it on paper. Thank you for that. I absolutely love your blog. Where do you find the amazing photos?

    1. wow, thank you so much. i've decided my mom likes the "idea" of me much better than the real thing. i get my photos from a variety of places - some are bought, some borrowed, some stolen. :)

  6. I hear you, Bev! It's just so awesome that you can maintain your sense of humor through it all! Bless you heart

  7. All I can say is God Bless You! I watch my mom deal with my Nana all the time. I'm sure she could relate to this! My Nana's a tough one too, after she broke her hip they used to call her "Miss Particular" at the rehab center.

    1. hi miss katie. hope everything goes well this weekend. yes, those old ladies can be tough

  8. Dear Bev, the whole posting was funny in the reading, but I suspect not funny at all in the living. Your last two lines are so true. There are some friends and family in my life that I do best being apart from. Like you and your mom, we practice long-distance love. Peace

    1. dear dee. i am weary from mom's long visit but i wouldn't miss any of it for the world. a great insult from her feels like a big hug to me. that's how warped we are.

  9. Test to see if I can get this fricken open id to work.

  10. It worked! Okay, I wish I had your ability to see more through the filter of funny and less through that of heartbreak. Reading your pieces always makes me feel lighter about the situation with my ill parents. Much needed. Bless you for that!

    1. hi sweetpea. when i'm with mom i always feel like the straight guy in a routine. people have said i'm patient but really i just want to know what she going to say next. i glad i make you feel lighter, when things get tough close your eyes and think of me. i'll be in your head waving wildly and smiling

  11. I wish I could see some wolf puppies! They probably aren't that cute in real life, besides there looks.

    I agree, my mother and I have stopped talking, I haven't spoke to her since December, one time we didn't talk for 2 years I believe. We can talk to each other but its when we are together that we can't take more then a day of it, and then we end up not talking. Which is why we haven't spoke since December.

    Great, and interesting post.
    Thanks for coming by my page!

    1. hi sherry. you should try to talk to your mom or at least stand next to her and smile. you can do it. thanks for visiting

  12. I really enjoyed reading this post. It was very funny and touching!

  13. thank you southern glamourista. and thank you for commenting and following

  14. Hi I am Happy little feet from the "bloghop till you drop". Amazing adventure. I will be following from now on!

  15. thank you for following...following you now..looking forward to read more..:)

    1. thank you shamsath - you have an unusual name

  16. Hi Bev, thanks for dropping by and the following. I am following back too. I like this post it made me smile and somehow think what do I look when I get to this age. I would love to think I will age gracefully ^_^ Happy weekend!

    1. thank you kim. i hope i turn out just like mom

  17. Cool pic! Thanks for stopping by and following me on preppypremed.blogspot.com. I'm already a follower of your blog :)

  18. Oh Moms...Following you back! Come say hi when you can!

  19. Thanks for stopping by my blog, now following you back!

    ~Jess @ fosteringinthedeepend.blogspot.com

  20. Hello thank you for visiting my blog, I'm just blog hopping back. Your blogs so sweet especially the header xxx

  21. very nice article. thank to share.. i love it.

  22. OMG you made me laugh so hard I nearly blew out my keyboard with my tea!! Mothers can be trying at times. I am glad you survived your escapade. I know you are certainly going to rest now! New follower from the Friday Blog Hop!

    1. thank you shelly anne for following, commenting and saying nice things about me

  23. For some reason this piece made me think of a story by Flannery O'Connor. Your descriptions, insight, way with language. 42 days...God bless you. But it made for a wonderful post.

    Have I mentioned what a gifted writer you are?

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