Monday’s Musings-A Caregiver’s Walk

“What should I get her?” asked my friend.

“I don’t know, she doesn’t need anything. She said she’d take money.”

“Of course she will. That is so your mom!” Miriam chuckled.

After we hung up, I wondered the same thing. What do you give someone who is turning 90?

This Saturday, my little mama will reach that milestone.

Born on September 4, 1920 on a homestead in Colorado Springs, Mom was one of six children. Their father—my grandfather was a Romanian man who traveled to this country by himself when he was 12 years old. He worked hard, married well, and tried homesteading. After a few years that didn’t work, so he took a job in Detroit and that is where my mother, Pauline Botu grew up.

She married my dad and had 48 of the best years of her life. (48 out of 59 ain’t bad, according to my father.) He died a few years ago, so now it’s just mom. She lives with my husband, my son, and me.

She frets because she can’t help. I assure her that she worked hard for several years, so her job is to pray. And she does.

So we’re going to have a party. A tribute to Mom. There will be a lot of good food and great friends. We’ll say all the things that we’d say at her funeral, but we just want to say them now.

My husband Tom is going to do ‘A Top 10 Things I Like About My Mother-in-Law.’ Number 10 is that she pays rent. (He’s considered billing me.) I know that a few of those top ten will have to do with the fact that my mom is a sports nut. She encouraged me to love football and baseball. For a few years, I even cheered for ‘the cubbies’ because of her.

“Just pick a team and root for it!” she told me when I complained about Tom watching too much football. I took her advice. I may gone overboard, because now I watch reruns of football games and think ESPN commercials are hilarious.

What do I give someone who loved me when I was unlovable? Who stood by me when I made lots of bad choices? Who cares even now when I get a cold? How do I measure the strong, simple faith that she exemplified to me and my sisters?

The answer is nothing that I could give her could repay all that she’s done for me. Which is really all that the gospel is about. Being unable to pay an insurmountable debt. Grace, pure grace.

But I could give her a gift. Like living my faith out in order to show Jesus to my almost-grown-children. That is a gift that reaps eternal rewards.

Something tangible that I might give her is to watch an entire ballgame in her room. We’ve switched to the Tampa Bay Rays because we were tired of losing.

And if that doesn’t please her, I could always give her cash.

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