We are told it will happen. We are reminded of it often. We are warned to select our words and actions carefully.
We then shake our head vigorously and deny the inevitable.
We become our mother.
Well, not totally, but certainly very close.
Since my retirement my mother has become pretty mu ch my best friend. We do everything together. We exercise, we shop, we get mani/pedis, we attend meetings, we plan our calendars...To the point where I have begun to worry is we will be going on double dates soon.
I am okay with it all, though. Mom has been my champion for years, even when I was practicing my young rendition of angst in the worst way. I was a terrible teenager. My young adult years were not much better. In fact, I will admit that I probably did not gain any type of maturity until MS came to live with me. And even then it was not immediate. Talk about late bloomers. I was 41 when diagnosed and still playing the role of unruly child.
Now roles are reversing. Mom's short-term memory is not so great any more and mobility is becoming an issue. She wants to do so much more than she is capable of. Her 80 year old body constantly rejects her 50 year old mindset. We spend more time talking about our activities than doing them.
Maybe I am just much more impatient than I realized, but while Mom is weighing her options, I normally have completed my morning chores with the phone on speaker so that I can be alerted of any break in dialogue for expected verbal response. A grunt is good enough to ensure she will continue for five minutes. By the time she has finished ranting, venting, relaying stories about people I have never met, fussing about my dad, and detailing her daily/weekly/monthly calendar events, I am usually ready for the day. Literally.
But when we get on the road, we always have a good time. She tells people that I push her to do things, so I guess that is a good thing. This weekend she is attending a writing conference with me if she can figure out what to wear. I am sure this will concern her to the point of extreme anxiety. How can I make her understand that no one really cares what we wear. Just be comfortable.She preached that to me often enough in my youth.
Pack as if you are camping. (Of course, that means she will probably bring an extra bag full of flashlights.) This event is extremely casual and relaxed. Even the Saturday night banquet is low key. For a three day event I am taking a clean shirt, a pair of shorts, and a sweater. This is what living with the MonSter has done to me. I look at life with much less anxiety where personal comfort is concerned. Just be comfortable.
MS has made me so much more patient with other people. Most of the time.
I do get impatient with ignorance, poor manners, and a lack of consideration. As Mom and I were driving through town yesterday I spotted an old friend out in her yard. I nearly stopped to chat, but traffic forced me to reconsider. And I am glad that happened. Although I miss our friendship, I am really tired of being the one to make the effort. Because since MS, that is what I do. I am the one to pick up the phone or mail the card. I am the one to listen instead of talk.
While all of this flits through my mind, my mother's soliloquy has not stopped. And I am glad. Mom is my friend and she has not stopped calling or mailing cards. This is where I am supposed to be right now.
So, today during our Silver Sneakers exercise class I am going to look at my mother and be glad. No one else matters.