If Mama Was Married

On Saturday I saw Mom for a pre-Mother’s Day visit. I brought her cookies, her favorite Yardley English Lavender soap, a card and a bouquet of peach-yellow roses.

She had some very exciting news to impart.

“I had a proposal of marriage,” she said.

“Wow. Really? From whom?”

“A younger man,” she said, flushing with excitement.

“Oh boy. Does he live here?”

“I don’t think so. Anyway, it’s all over now.”

“So you said ‘no’?”

“Yes, it was silly,” she said, still blushing.

“That’s very exciting, Mom. What does he look like?”

“Much younger, and very handsome. Bald.”

“Oh, my.”

We took a spin up and down the halls and into the day room.

“Make sure to point him out to me if you see him,” I said.

“Okay, but I don’t think he’s here anymore.”

I spotted some new male residents in her unit–one was bald and smiling, strapped into his wheelchair. I wondered if that was her new beau.

One of the aides said, “Hi, Katherine. So I heard you’re getting married.”

Mom smiled. “Isn’t it exciting?” I said to the aide.

We returned to her room and watched part of The Hustler on Turner Classic Movies and had coffee and cookies.

“You know what else?” she said, giddily. “He washed my face.”

“Isn’t that nice.”

“He said, ‘I wanted to see if you were wearing any makeup because you look so
young.’ ” She was giggling as she said this.

“And you weren’t wearing makeup.”

“No. I still can’t believe it,” she said.

I started to think she might be talking about her boyfriend from back in Milwaukee, the blond German one that she was so crazy about. I wasn’t sure, though.

It doesn’t matter. She was happy, ebullient, feeling cherished and attractive again. What could be wrong with that? And wouldn’t it be swell if Mama got married?

I Was Waiting for You

meandmom on grass

Mom and me on the grass. 

I called Mom last night, haven’t seen her since last weekend—had to rest my post-op foot the last few days.

It was almost 8 p.m. D, the nurse answered.

D:        Your mom is right here in front of me. (to Mom) Katherine, it’s your daughter.

Me:      Hi, Mom. What were you doing?

Mom:  I was waiting for you.

Those words felt satisfying. Maybe it’s co-dependent, though I’m not a fan of that word. Doesn’t love require us to be co-dependent sometimes, after all?

Me:     Any good movies on today?

Mom:  No, just ads.

Me:     Oh, well maybe they’ll be a good one on later.

Mom:  The snow in the backyard is going away.

Me:     Yeah? I guess it’s about time. Friday is the first day of spring.

Mom:  Really?

Me:     Yes. So we can go outside soon.

Mom:  That would be nice.

Me:     We can go outside in the garden.

Mom:  Yes.

Me:      How are you feeling?

Mom:   Pretty good.

Me:      How is Mouse*?

Mom:   She’s fine, she’s holding her own. (pause) I need some cookies.

Me:      The chocolate grahams?

Mom:   Yes, those are my favorites. (excitement in her voice)

Me:       Anything else you need?

Mom:    No, I don’t think so.

Me:       Okay, Mom. I’ll bring them this week. Have a good night.

Mom:   You too, dear.

Time will stand still till I speak with her or see her again. She seems less and less aware of the passage of time these days. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

*     Mouse is her stuffed animal cat, named after her deceased cat of the same name.