I was on my way to see my mother. I had packed my bags and was walking with my head down along the path to my car. I noticed the sand on the path with irritation.
“Why am I the one to have to go there? Why does it have to be me?” The last week had been a strain being with my mom. I had spent a week there since my son was leaving and I wanted to be there with him. Then my sister came to visit for the holidays. My mother was out of sorts and we were concerned, especially when she started a fire in the kitchen.
“Is this it?” I thought. “Is she getting the dementia she always feared?” I talked to a friend of mine and she asked me what I was really afraid of.
“I guess it’s about me,” I said. “As always. I’m afraid of what this means. What will we do? What am I going to have to do? What about when she’s gone? She’s my anchor. Even though her questions are annoying, I’m used to having her there. When she’s gone, I’ll feel so alone.” I had a good cry, finally letting out the sadness, fear and frustration of the past two weeks.
Even though I felt better, the burden of being the only sibling in the area felt heavy as I walked to my car.
How would I feel if she was gone? Wouldn’t I wish that I could go visit her? Wouldn’t I wish that I could be annoyed by her questions?
I remembered having lunch with some girls from high school. Carol was complaining about her mother. Fran said she wished she could still complain about hers. She had passed away earlier that year. I remember thinking how terrible it would be to not be able to pick up the phone and call mine. How insensitive it was of Carol to be complaining in front of Fran.
So why don’t I change the context for my mother. Why don’t I see it as a privilege to go visit her? As hard as it is sometimes to field her incessant and repetitive questions. As hard as I try not to be annoyed and constantly fail.
By the time I started my car, I no longer felt like a victim. I was lucky to be going to see my mom. We had a good time that night. Just me and her. Mom and me.
And I’m going to do my best to enjoy all the time I can spend with her. Just because I can. Even when she asks me the same question 5 times. Even when I get annoyed trying to explain the same thing over and over.
Because one day I’m going to wish that I could. And I won’t be able to.