Friday, May 07, 2010

Mother's Day


Mom and Baby Mr. Drew

When I wrote this a good while back, my Mother was still living by herself in the house my Father and his Father built 65 years ago. Now she lives ten minutes from me, in a rest home where she has her own room and is comfy and happy. She uses a walker after breaking her hip and falling several times.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom.

I love you to the moon and back.

Mom and the Orthopod

When I arrive at your house, you're impeccably dressed and waiting. You know we are going somewhere but you ask me five times from the living room and five times in the car where we are headed, and why.

I answer you factually eight times and impatiently twice, but not impatiently enough that you tell me I'm not being nice, so I guess you don't notice my slips.

We have made this appointment for your knees because it's obvious you can't maneuver stairs without using a banister to pull yourself up, and lately you've asked if you can get a cortisone shot. But today you do not remember any of that, and you tell me your knees are pretty good.

We don't know this doctor. Dr. R recommended him and I am glad because the other knee guy, Dr. H, was too rote. This doctor has looked at your x-rays before we arrive (good sign) and asks you to tell him what about your knees bothers you. You say, "The weather".

He says, "No, I mean, can you walk a mile? What can't you do?"

I am amazed he asks my 90 year old mother if she walks a mile. She answers directly, "No doctor, but I never could walk a mile." She and I smile. He continues.

He tells my mother, "Your knees are bone on bone. You could have surgery but I doubt you want that." My mother agrees. He continues, "You should be fine as long as you avoid stairs."

You say, "I can't--my laundry is in the cellar."

He says, "You have to find someone to do your laundry then. You shouldn't do stairs."

You smile. I know this is going right over your proud defiant head.

He tells you again. This time you act surprised. "Oh,"you say, "I can't use the stairs?"

He says, "Are you in the same room as me?"

Normally I would find a way to tell him politely but clearly to be more respectful and civil, but my mother does not let on she cannot remember from minute to minute and he is trying his best to make a point.

When you again do not hear, he says, "Look, your knees are not stable. If you continue to use the cellar stairs, you will fall and break your neck and die. Then you won't have to worry about your knees."

My mother smiles.

When we get home, I am determined to use this in-your-face medical appointment to wean you off stairs once and for all. I tell you the doctor has forbidden you to go down the cellar. You protest and refuse, "I am not going to stop doing my laundry."You are emphatic.

I become more forceful, to which you finally look at me straight on and say, "kj, you're making me feel like I'm a hundred years old........."




  1. aww.. this is such a heartwarming post! Happy Mother's day kj - to u and to ur mom!

  2. I agree, it is a heart warming story kj - a little bit heart breaking, but mostly heart warming. big hugs, to you and your mom - so very glad the stairs are a thing of the past! xox K

  3. oh kj what a living doll she is both in her face and in her manner, a true example of olden day fortitude and bravery. love her every day in every way. xxx

  4. I love the way this piece is written, with such charm and all the love in the world. Look at her bright beautiful eyes! You are lucky to have her this Mother's Day.

  5. Bless and she's still going, stairs or no. I love your header photo kj . .She's happy and that's a bonus and you're good and kind daughter. Happy mother's day to you both . .

  6. Her generation knows how to do proud with a capital P ;) Enjoy your day together on Sunday*!*

  7. I love your mom...and she has a kind and very caring daughter. Lucky lady

  8. Am I the only one who wanted to ring that doctor's neck? LOL! I think I have a hot button about this. My mom is 'getting on' and she told me the worst thing about getting old is that 'you become invisible'. She told me people treat you with disrespect and forget that it just takes you a little longer to process things. I try very hard to remember that when I am with her, or when I talk to older people. Your mom is beautiful, kj. Please wish her a happy Mom's Day from me! xoxo Pam

  9. love the bejeweled hangs and wrists in the banner photo. I agree, a very sweet story about being old. You are a dear daughter to care for your mom this way. Hugs to both of you and happy mother's day.

  10. Oh, I love this post!! She sounds like an extraordinary woman who has raised another extraordinary woman!! You are both lucky women - and I hope I am that defiant when I am 90!! And I'm glad she's now living closer to you and not using stairs anymore... Love, Silke

  11. MMmmm, I love the header! I have always loved old hands, esp with young hands intertwined.

    "KJ, you make me feel like I'm 100!" I love her wit and matter-of-factness.

    I see alot of that same banter between you and Jess;)

    Happy Mother's Day dear friend, to both of you...and JB and Jess too ♥

  12. how do we know, thank you as always. your visits are always a surprising delight.

    karin, hugs to you too. the bitter sweet part remains. aging is hard to accept sometimes. still, my Mom is now 94 and her green eyes sparkle. that is what i am going to always always remember.

    joss, she is a doll. you would like her and she you.

    lydia, thank you, lydia. when i read it over i was concerned about the doc's harshness. i do love my Mom and i know not everyone can celebrate that on Mother's day.

    hells, speaking of super Mothers. YOU are totally fantastic.

    annie, this weekend jb and i are going to my Mother's house two hours away to continue the dismantling so it can be rented this summer. it makes me very sad.

    wieneke, tsup! thank you, dear friend.

    mim, i want you to meet my Mom. i do. xoxo

    pam, i agree!!! in retrospect i was shocked last night coming upon this piece that i didn't punch the doctor in the face!! but i think at the time i was so frustrated and scared to death about her using the cellar stairs that i appreciated his frankness (he does sound like an a--hole!). your comment made me chuckle. you and i it seems are alot alike.

    thank you, suki. you know when i saw that beautiful picture of your Mother--how kind and loving she looked--she reminded me so much of my Mother. i hope your memories comfort you on this day. Your Mom had a great daughter. xoxo

    silke, thank you. we are both stubborn and so is my Jess. it clearly runs in the maternal family!

    lo, HAHAHAHA!those are JB's hands in the header!! her hands used to model for good housekeeping magazine! (not that this pix is one of those). along with mim, i would like you to meet my Mom someday. and of course jess. p.s. emma and bliss say happy Mother's day to you. xoxo

  13. Happy Mother's Day to you, your mom and your daughter.

  14. Your mom is so darling. Kisses and hugs to her. And you. xoxo

  15. Your Mother is a wonder - full of courage, wit and SPUNK! You ARE your Mother's daughter. I love the real bond the two of you's a link you will always have with you - no matter what.

    It WILL be hard as you clear out her house - so full of memories...but, always remember how much LOVE resided there - and...those memories will remain.

    A HAPPY MOTHER'S Day to You and Your Beautiful Mother.


    ♥ Robin ♥

  16. Aaah, so special, this Mother/daughter bond. I won't say how lucky you are to still have her, as you already know that.
    I had to smile a bit about the stairs,,,I wonder if we will be the same?
    (and I think I know)
    Happy Mother's Day,,to you and your Mom!

  17. Actually, I have a little sympathy for the doctor - it would make sense to warn any doctor about memory and processing issues. And he had a very serious concern about your Mom hurting herself.

    I'm so glad your Mom is in a place that works for her, and that you and she have such a loving relationship.

  18. Hugs to you, Twinkles,

  19. angela, tsup! happy happy Mother's day to you too. we deserve time to play these days, dontcha think? xoxo

    annie, likewise and ditto. xoxo

    thank you, robin. i hate clearing out my Mom's house. jess is coming by tomorrow to help me figure out what to do with the furniture etc. that is a great help, just emotionally. here's wishing you a wonderful weekend. xoxo

    babs, HAHAHA! we WILL be the same!! maybe even more so! thank you for your always good wishes. tsup!

    cs, i agree, although in this case the doctor knew and was reminded but he was inpatient and abrupt. still, i liked his forcefulness at the time. i wouldn't like it now though, maybe because my Mom is more fragile. happy Mother's day to you: you are a great MOther!

    angela, love you, twinkles. ♥

  20. Yes I know how this one feels. Somehow we have to learn to manage this transition that ocurrs in the twilight years ... the roles become reversed and the delicate dance begins between doing enough without doing too much. Respecting dignity but helping out in the ways that become increasingly interventionist ... and then trying to make it OK that time marches on and this is just what happens. You sum it up much better than that of course! I know how this feels that's all.

  21. kj,

    I was a caretaker for my parents for many years and know how precious it is to have them as comfortable as can be and SAFE. Whether it's failing memory or stubborness, or both, parents do not relinquish the reins of authority lightly. Patience is a golden virtue. Loved this piece the first time I read it and still do.
    Happy Mother's Day kj. All your good deeds will come back to you, not because you did them, but because it never occured to you not to.


  22. where have i been? clearly spending too much time on the beach and not enough here!

    what a beautiful beautiful post kj. you and your mom are so lucky for so many reasons. i remember when we told my granma she couldn't drive anymore, she had the same feisty attitude. (i love it so much).

    happy mother's day to your beautiful mom, your beautiful daughter and you.

    ♥ lori

  23. Your Mom is a beautiful woman kj. What a sweet smile.
    Happy Mother's day dear one.
    Love and hugs.
    Thank you for your sweet comment.

  24. I didn't mean THOSE hands looked old. It came out wrong. I used it to segue into the fact that I love photographs of hands, young and old.
    Stop getting me into trouble ;P


  25. You are very beautiufl kj and how lucky is that gorgeous Mum of yours to have you!

    big love to you on Mothers Day and forever :)

    love the header.... great hands.

    x Robyn

    ps... i've been out of action due to a fuzzy computer :(

  26. I love the header, kj. Old hands have such a story to tell...imagine how resourceful they've been and for how long!

    Your mother is so precious...and so are you, kj. The doctor deserves no less than getting old and discovering how difficult it is, and how much courage is required. My mother-in-law has a saying..."getting old is not for the faint-hearted" and she's so right.

    Hugs and love to you and your Mom this Mother's Day weekend!

  27. Oh, Happy Mothers' Day to you kj. I envy you - having a delightful mother to mother! Make her a rhubarb cake!!

  28. Kj, Special hugs as you go through your mom's house. I know how hard it must be. xoxo