Well the week that I have dreaded for a while now, has come and gone. Mother's first day of Senior Day Care has occurred and the sky didn't fall after all.
The sight of my 83 year old mother, standing in front of the Senior Day Care, practically trembling with fear that she would be left with strange people for hours on end brought back uncomfortable memories of my own.
It was 1960, and mother has informed me that I would be starting first grade the next day. Being the baby of the family, as well as a huge mama's girl, created a mixture of anxiety and fears not yet known to a small frail six year old. Mother took a job outside the home the year prior to my starting school. She is in a hurry to get to work and has no time to take her youngest daughter to the first day of school. My Aunt Bobbie, mother's youngest sister, has agreed to do the dreaded deed. Mother hurriedly drops me off at Aunt Bobbie's and I am told to behave and go with her or else.
I remember well, the tears and tight fist clinching of the kitchen chair as I was warned to let go and get in the car or the sheriff would come and hunt down my mother and put her in jail due to neglecting to take her children to school. I quickly complied and off to Stearns Elementary I was hauled. Entering the room, I could see children with their mothers, hand in hand, as they began their first day of school. My Aunt Bobbie had a job of her own at the County Courthouse, so she said her goodbyes as I was left alone to spend a day of eternity with a pit of strangers. As I spied around the room, I could see one lady who seemed to notice me, Mrs. Cleo Geer. How ironic that this woman would one day serve as my eight grade basketball coach. I started to walk closer to this woman who was almost as beautiful as my mother, and I decided to really get noticed. Flopping down in her lap, my 50 lb body went limp as I pretended to faint. Mrs. Geer promptly snatched me up and ran for fresh air. Some 50 years have gone by, and I still fill those all familiar butterflies when I find myself meeting new people.
As we wait for the door to open, I chant to my mother "my poor little mommy it will be alright, don't worry." We are greeted at the door and mother seems to be all accepting. I remind her that I will return at 1:00 pm and head off to work. As I return, I can see that mother is putting on one of her acts. No one is the smarter to her, but me. We say our goodbyes and as we leave the room, mother whispers that she will NOT be going back.
It's Thursday and time for the second day of Senior Day Care. Mother can't remember anything that's happened two minutes prior, but she can remember that she does not want to go back to Day Care. I am unable to get her to agree to go, so I quickly dial my sister Sue's number. I can see mother's expressions as she argues with her on the phone. I never asked what my sister said to her, but she told me that she had reminded mother that I had been good to her and that she should do as I asked. I would have imagined that she had mentioned some things that included assisted living or nursing home for a turn around in mother that was shown. "Well, I guess I'll go, but I sure don't want to!" she smarts. Off we go for our second day. Mother seemed to enjoy this day a little more, even though she whispered the same remark to me as we were leaving that afternoon, "I'll NOT be coming back!"
This past month has brought many tears to both me and my mother. But with the Lord's help, I will survive this awesome task that lies ahead. Some days are good, some are not.
My mother and I were watching a Television Evangelist last Sunday morning as he played the piano and sang "The Love of God." To my dismay, mother began to sing along with him, knowing every word by heart. Knowing most things about my mother, I couldn't believe that she knew this song. As I have mentioned in earlier blogs, I work in a Baptist Association office. Just today, my Director of Missions entered the work room and announced that he had gotten in the mail, a free CD with sample songs for the Christmas season and asked if I would like to listen. I agreed and the CD began to play. "The Love of God" came on. How could it be that this song was playing when I had only heard it one other time in many years days before when my mother sang along with the TV Evangelist. Only one thing made sense to me, God was speaking. He said, "Jean, be patient and kind to this dear woman that I've entrusted in your care. She's been mine for many years now and I love her as I love you. All day long, I have thought of this incident. How small I felt as I sat there listening.
A new song has come into my heart now, as I go about the daily task of caring for mother.
"The Love Of God"
The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell
It goes beyond the highest star
And reaches to the lowest hell
The guilty pair, bowed down with care
God gave His Son to win
His erring child He reconciled
And pardoned from his sin
Could we with ink the ocean fil
And were the skies of parchment made
Were every stalk on earth a quill
And every man a scribe by trade
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry
Nor could the scroll contain the whole
Though stretched from sky to sky
O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints' and angels' song