It's a Saturday morning and I'm arriving at mother's a little later than usual. I am putting my Christmas tree up today and need to run to Walmart to buy some extra decorations. Thinking that I will have a few moments to myself, possibly stopping to grab a quick breakfast and just enjoy my alone time, I will tell mother that I can't stay long.
Mother has been complaining of her knee bothering her for the past several days and is taking her time getting to the door. I can hear her faint voice calling out "I'm coming, slow, but sure." As she opens the door, I hear her thanking the dog Annie for being patient till she could make it up to let her out. As far as mother's physical condition, her knee is the worst ailment she has, other than a little high blood pressure.
One look in her eyes and I can see that she has had a long night. Placing her pills in her hand and a red plastic cup full of water, I tell her to take her medicine. She answers with the same questions, "just what in the world are these pills for?" "Who told me to take these pills," and so on. As she sits at the kitchen table, she give me a quick look and asks if I had heard about the people looking for her last night. Naturally I knew that there had been no such event going on, so I tell her she had been dreaming. "Did you not hear them talking about it on the scanner?" she asks. "No mother, nobody was talking about you on the scanner and nobody was looking for you last night!" "O yes they were, I was lost all night long" she says. Wanting to get out of this conversation, so I can leave and get to my little stow away to Wally World, I move on over to the bar when I catch a glimpse of two old photographs. One is of mother and three of her remaining siblings, taken on the day of her sister Louise's funeral, back in the late 60's. I inquire as to where the pictures came from, since I had not seen this particular photograph in years. "You know that place we rent up in the valley sometimes" she says, "well I was rummaging through some things and found those there." Knowing that mother had not been anywhere last night and confident that she had never rented a place up in the valley, I wanted no part of this conversation, knowing that my time was passing by and my shopping was not getting done while I was listening to this nonsense.
Thanksgiving Day was two days ago and all the family had come for dinner and a visit, I knew that my sister Sue who usually gives mother her Saturday shower, would not be coming back today. I suddenly feel guilty about my simple needs and begin to plead with mother to come and take a shower. After twenty minutes or so of begging and pleading, she finally agrees to get up and comply with my wishes, grumbling all the way back to her bath. She undresses for her shower as I lean over the tub to turn the water on. I suddenly heard giggles coming from behind. Asking what she was doing, I somehow knew what the answer would be. "If you just knew what I was thinking, you bent over there and all, I doubt you'd be so quick to ask." I told her that I could just imagine what she was thinking and she assured me that my thoughts were right, "She'd like to give me a good kick in the butt while I had it turned up there" she said. Not being detered by her childish remarks, I assist her into the shower and allow her to do the honors.
It's not too long before she's through, so I carefully escort her out and to her bedroom. Sitting on the bed, I take a good look at my mother and her aged body. Pity comes over me as a small voice reminds me that this person who sits before me is the same person who had once bathed and dressed me as a child, giving of herself so unselfishly and even though she had been all but accommodating to me this morning, I feel the need to remind her of how beautiful she is and has been in years gone by and call her "my beautiful mommy." I can see that she flourishes at the sound of my words. I wonder why I can't and don't give her this small homage more often.
Suddenly, I no longer feel pleasure in my shopping trip for tree decorations. Somehow, it doesn't seem important anymore. As I close mother's door behind me, I thank God for His gentle reminder of the things in my life that are really important.