All posts in Elderly Parents

Stop Telling Me What To Do—Monday’s Musings

I was in a hurry. I loaded my folder, Bible and computer into my carrying case. Mentally, I checked off all I planned to do before Bible Study Fellowship. My 89-year-old mother called me into the TV room as I hurried through our dining room. Her eyes scanned my appearance as her companion prepared the meal.

“Let me take a look at those pants and see if they’re too tight.”

I seethed. Who was she to talk. My mom had always been a generous size 18. At least I wasn’t there,… yet. I spat out something to the effect that it was none of her business, and stop telling me what to do. Then my spiritual side started to hot-foot it off to study God’s Word. Of all the nerve!

My response haunted me as I applied my lip gloss. I discussed her comment with myself in the mirror. Why was I so abrupt? What is it about mom that bugs my fifty-one-year-old-self so much?

Rebellion whispered faintly in my ear. The Spirit spoke to me and I realized that I didn’t want her telling me what to do. I thought about my kids. I’d voiced my opinion to them for years—metamorphosing in their ears like a Charlie Brown parent. I was abrupt. I used words that I thought were helpful, but were sometimes hurtful.

I thought of my mom. Most days she didn’t leave her bedroom except for the one block walk up my street. She meant to help, even though it hurt. I contemplated a time recently when I’d been brutally honest with her.

“Mom, you need to change your Depends. It smells.” Ouch. That’s role reversal in full swing. My mom even calls me mom. What I said needed to be said. But wasn’t there a kinder way to say it?

I vowed to watch my words with her.

You see, I’m a ‘Proverbs 31 Woman Wannabe.’ When that woman speaks, “the teaching of kindness is on her lips.” My desire is to have love and kindness oozing from my mouth. I realize that it needs to come from my heart. Lord, forgive me. Change my heart and my words

My feet led me into the TV room as my heart desired to depart.

“How do I look, Mom?” I prepared myself for the worst. She gave me the once-over.

“They’re not too tight. You look good.”

Thanks, Mom, and thanks, Lord.

A Caregiver’s Walk

It’s almost 4PM and I’m still in my jammies. You see, I have laryngitis (Thanks Judi Perry-conscientious editor, for the correct spelling), a cold, and a low-grade fever. No one in my house cares with the exception of my 89-year-old mother.

My college-aged son is cramming for a speech that he started today and is due today. My husband is desperately trying to coerce tourists into fishing aboard our boat, The Gypsy. Mom is sleeping in her uncomfortable, lift-chair in the cheery, green room that is now her home. She’s protecting her weekly-old-lady-hairdo with her shiny, white sleeping cap. It rests precariously on top of her head as she reads the latest in Christian fiction.

Mom is our only living parent. Tom’s Father and Mother both died a few years ago, and my father died in November of 2007. So my mom is the only one in the entire planet who still cares that her 50-year-old baby has a cold. In fact, while checking on her several times during the afternoon, she has advised me first to put Vicks on my throat, then tongue, and lastly she advised me to take a nap.

I’m going to remember that when she’s confused in the mornings and still thinks Dad is alive. I’m going to remember that when we take our walks and she stops to talk, because she can’t walk and talk at the same time. I’m going to remember that when it gets harder and harder to take care of her, or even if the Lord decides to take her in her sleep. (We’ve discussed meeting our maker while in sleeping mode, and both agreed that it got our vote.)

And, I’d miss her. But for now, she’s here and I’m glad.

Right now, I think I’ll put Vicks on my throat and take a nap. But I draw the line at Vicks on the tongue. Besides, I have yet to brush my teeth.