I remember being young. Then, I wanted to be older. I wanted to be a teenager. Then I wanted to drive. Then, I wanted to be out on my own, get married, have children. On and on. You know the story.
When the kids were little, I couldn't wait for their first walk, their first teeth, their first birthdays. I couldn't wait for them to get to school, turn into teenagers, have their first dates and proms, and then graduate. Driving--well, I could wait on that but they couldn't. Two are licensed, one is right around the corner from it. Two are still home but one has moved out into her own life. I am called 'Gammy' now, in addition to Mom. Yet, I don't really feel the grandma title, though I surely do love it anyway.
My mother celebrates her 70th birthday today. We spent much of the day together, shopping and going out to lunch. We don't get to do that very often anymore. I work all week long and she works all weekend. I drive her back and forth to work every Saturday and Sunday, take her to get her medications and her groceries, take her dog to the vet and her to the doctor, but we never really visit for long, except at holidays.
Today I realized that my mother still being here is a gift. Lots of people can't say that. But things have changed. We've always been close, but lately it's hard to keep misunderstandings to a minimum. I lead a very busy life. I don't have a choice. She leads a very quiet, lonely life. She doesn't have a choice either. Her independence is dwindling fast and she resents it. She no longer drives. She has to depend on others for a lot of her basic needs. She can't just pick up and go any longer.
My mom has always been a very independent, take charge kind of lady. If somethings needed to be done, she just did it. With love and kindness and joy. She can't do that now--her options are limited.
She moves slower, doesn't see very well, and has become very skittish in crowds and in any unfamiliar setting. Even going to a grocery store in the same chain but a different location throws her off balance.
I realize that much has been written and researched about the effect on life when adult children must step in to care for aging parents. I'm living it. But, aging parents, it's not so bad that you should ever hesitate to call your children for help. I see it as a repayment for years you spent caring for them. I'm glad to do what I can, even though I feel it sometimes isn't enough.
Age is not just a number. There are so many physical and mental changes that take place as a body breaks down over time. It's scary. For everyone involved. My mom still thinks young, but her body just won't cooperate anymore.
I'm glad I still have my mom. If you still have yours, you're blessed. Even though things can't be quite the same anymore, we have years of memories stashed away between the two of us. She is still my staunchest supporter. She is also my friend. I shudder to think of the time when I will be here, in this world, without her.
So, Happy Birthday, Mama! I'm praying for many more to come.
Thank you, Jesus, for the gift of an excellent mother. Mine definitely won the title!
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