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 wheelchairme: fine.
go get wheelchair
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.
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.