Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Mom's in town

I looked at the date on my last post and realized that I have let almost a full month go by with little writing.  No excuses, but life has suddenly become exceptionally busy.  I've planned and carried out a lot of Voluptuous Table events.  In fact, the last four weekends have been filled with one event after another.

There was a rationale behind this kind of entertaining: Mom's in town.

I wanted her to experience what The Voluptuous Table was all about.  So I held lots of events very close together so that she could attend them during her visit.  It's been a lot of fun.  She's been so helpful with little sous chef chores and with being patient while we go to five different stores for just the right flowers.

My husband has been deliriously happy with the food choices made possible by my mom lately: Kraft macaroni and cheese (if you're curious or clueless about this American pantry staple, you'll need the step-by-step directions provided in the link), rotisserie chicken, and Blue Bell ice cream--the ice cream that almost every Texan (and the rest of the world) thinks is the best ice cream in the universe.  In other words, my mother has made possible for my husband to enjoy all the foods his wife doesn't buy and often scorns.  My mother asked him recently if he was going to miss her when she went away.  "Yeah.  Mostly because of the macaroni and cheese," he quipped. 

Image from the Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Facebook site

My mother and I usually plan a visit with each other around Mother's Day because it's often very close to my birthday.  In fact, I was born on Mother's Day, likely a very propitious event much like the Ides of March.  My humility astounds even me!  Every so often, my birthday and Mother's Day are on the same day.  So my mother and I have gotten into the habit of trying to be together at that time.

This year, Mom decided to come to Texas for a nice, long visit.  Three weeks seemed just about right to her.  Now, you need to know that after 53 years, sharing my space is still very difficult for me.  In fact, when I got married after a hiatus of 12 years, I went through a kind of culture shock about not only agreeing to sharing my house for a very long time with my husband ('til death do us part), but having to adjust to the fact that he is a man.  EEEW!  Not that it would make any difference in the long run what gender I share my space with, mind you.  It's the concept of sharing that is challenging for me.  Just ask Mom.

Both my mother (and now my husband) will tell you that I am very territorial about my space.  I was reminded of that recently by my mother when she asked if I had made room for my husband to live anywhere in the house besides the 3 square feet of space he takes up in front of his TV.  Why was I annoyed by this question?  Well, because it reminds me of how I suck at sharing.  Remember as well that my house has a rather disrupted feng shui because I am a Taurus and I like my stuff.  I am what my mother tactfully refers to as a "collector," and I suffer from what one of my good friends very lovingly and humorously refers to as "The Disease of More" and from what my husband just plain calls "hoarding junk."  Well, of course he thinks my stuff is junk.  He doesn't know what to do with 3 chafing dishes!

So here comes Mom, and she takes up very little space, but I have such a hard time adjusting to someone else putting their coffee cup right there or moving the cushions on the couch over there or wanting to fold the dish towel before hanging it just to the left of center (that's probably my OCD talkin').  Or wanting to have a conversation with me during a movie, or complaining about leg cramps or hives or heartburn or whatever.  And she's been so helpful to me, trying to keep the house picked up after herself so as to not make any work for me, doing my laundry, washing dishes.  So why do I feel so annoyed with her sometimes?

I realized today like a big smack in the face that I'm annoyed that she's aging.  It's been so hard to watch her do the things she does in the different way that she has now that means she's getting older and is about to leave me and my brothers.  She's slower now, more deliberate, and she has to try harder to speak her thoughts, which tend to leave her rather quickly now.  She needs a cane to help her keep her balance.  She misses points in the conversation and needs to have them repeated.  My mother NEVER acted like this before because she was PERFECT.  She never needed assistance with anything and could do just about everything she had a mind to do.

But that's changed.  And I cannot continue to expect the mother of my childhood to be with me now.  That sweet, patient mother who loved me no matter what I said or did is still there, but that physically invincible, capable mother is slipping away from us.  She still loves me unconditionally, but she is different now.  She is more frail and more forgetful.  And I'm really mad about that.

So I need to practice being very loving and kind to her while she's still here with us.  Because I will never have another mother, especially not this wonderful mother I've been so privileged to have, and I will miss her terribly when she's gone.

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