Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: GOING HOME (from vacation) (09/03/15)
TITLE: My Mom, The Teenager
By Leola Ogle
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Mom’s seventy-two and lives in a retirement community. She’s old, although many times she told me, “Cindy, quit treating me like I’m feeble and I have one foot in the grave.”
I can’t help fussing over my dear, aged mother even though she always had a litany of complaints – “Don’t shout, my hearing’s fine,” “You don’t have to hold my hand. I’m capable of walking on my own.” “Stop finishing my sentences for me. I know what I’m going to say.”
You get the idea. Mom’s old, and I’m a dutiful daughter. I want her to be safe. Since dad died ten years ago, she’s only had church as a social outlet. I decided staying at our house would be a nice change.
We helped Mom get settled in the house the day before we left. “I plan to have some friends over, Cindy, if that’s okay with you.”
“Of course, Mom.” God love her – I expected a few church friends for a Bible study, or making crafts, or something. “I’ll call every day to check on you.”
“Cindy, I’m not a child. Enjoy your vacation and don’t worry about me.”
At Mom’s age, I worry. I called when we arrived in Oregon to tell Mom we’d made it safely. She sounded breathless, so I asked if I woke her from a nap. “No, I’m out of breath because I just swam four laps in your pool.”
I was sure she was joking. Mercy, I can’t do four laps in the pool. I called three days later, and told her to turn the television down because I couldn’t hear her. “Hey, be quiet,” she hollered, and then to me, “It’s my Book Club group. We’re having a heated discussion.”
The next time I called there was music and voices in the background. “Just our weekly Zumba group, Cindy. Everything’s fine here.”
Zumba? My mom had become quite a comedian. Zumba indeed!
My daughter tried to tell me to relax. “Grams is fine. She’s a feisty gal.”
I’d certainly never describe Mom as feisty. But that’s young people for you. They see things through rose-colored glasses.
There was the day I called and Mom said it was her Thursday morning Bible Study group at the house. Now that was more like it. I was relieved. No more comedic responses from Mom. Then I called a few days later and there wasn’t any answer. I called off and on all day. I finally got her that evening.
“Cindy, why are you panicked? I went on an outing with my Seniors Group.”
“Of course all day. Then I had dinner with a friend.”
“But…but Mom. You shouldn’t be so…so busy. Are you taking your medications and keeping your doctor appointments? You’re going to get sick or hurt running around all day.”
There was a long, heavy sigh from Mom. “Oh, Cindy.” She sighed again. “So how is your vacation going? Let’s talk about that.”
“Oh, we’re having so much fun. We go to the beach on weekends. We went camping. There’s lakes all over in Oregon. We’ve done picnics and movies and shopping. But, Mom, I’m worried about you.”
“Then don’t worry.”
I couldn’t help but worry. Mom’s far from a spring chicken. If she was trying to do Zumba and swim laps, she could die. Or she was joking?
The next time I called, I refrained from asking her what all the noise was. I was afraid she’d try to shock me with some made-up story, but I was more afraid she’d be telling the truth. Since I didn’t ask, she volunteered.
“Just a few friends and I learning how to hula dance. You know, it’s a great way to stay in shape.”
I tried not to visualize Mom doing the hula. I could visualize her knitting or watching television reruns – things people her age do. But did I even know my mom?
When we returned home from vacation, I wasn’t sure what I’d find. But there Mom sat, alone, watching black and white reruns. The house was spotless, everything in place. She smiled. I smiled.
“I’m thinking of parachuting from a plane on my birthday.”
I think I fainted.
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