Linda and I are both very fortunate to still have our mothers around, even though some days you wonder. As only mothers can, they have the uncanny ability to be both priceless, and frustrating, all within five minutes. Throw in a pandemic, that has everyone locked up together, and, well, lets just say life is interesting.
(Doris pictured three years ago)
Linda's mother, Doris, has been living with us for about 32 years. She has been incredibly helpful and generous over the years, and frankly, pretty low maintenance for most of that time. For nearly 28 of those years she had her own attached apartment to our house with two bedrooms, a living room, and kitchen.
She was self sufficient and offered us a live-in babysitter for our menagre of dogs over those years while we vacationed, or went out of town for business trips. It was win, win for everyone. Now that she has gotten older, life has presented some additional challenges, and she has faced them like a trooper and rarely complains.
(Diana questioning unsuspecting guest)
My mother, Diana, moved to California around 25 years ago, or so, with my dad and had a wonderful life in retirement together. After my dad passed away, almost seven years ago, she was on her own for the first time ever in her life. While it was lonely for her, she was fearless in moving forward, and frankly, we were all a little bit surprised at her resilience in being alone.
She is lucky to have a great support group around her, with neighbors that look after her like she is their mother. However, three years ago Linda and I decided that we couldn't continue to depend on the kindness of neighbors forever and so we moved out here to be nearer to her. It made it easier for us to keep an eye on both mothers having them close.
What we've discovered is that you are never ready for the role of guardian to your parents. Most days it's easy-peasy for everyone and you don't even think about it. Then there are the days when you, or your spouse, start a conversation with, "So I was talking to my mother and she said..." You just know the rest of that sentence is not going to go well.
On those days, you think about all the times you made your mother crazy over the years, and wish you would have been a better kid, because there is clearly karma payback going on and it's too late to do anything about changing it now. You grit your teeth and plow forward in the hopes that you can finish what needs to be done quickly, or you suffer a massive heart attack and problems solved.
Conversations can be confusing for everyone, sometimes, as your discussion about lunch has suddenly shifted to toiletries needed, and you somehow missed the transition, so you are wondering why she possibly needs a box of kleenex for lunch.
One of my favorite things about living in an area that is predominantly retirees, is that nobody can hear anyone talking so every conversation, TV, and radio is at full volume, all the time. It's like being at a Who concert everyday, but sober.
Also, apparently, once you reach 87 years old, you lose any filter you might have had earlier in life and you just say whatever crosses your mind at that time. Again, at full volume. Nobody gets insulted because nobody can hear anyway, so you just smile and nod your head.
For being 93, Doris, and 90, Diana, (this November for both), they are in incredibly good health and I say every day they are likely to outlive me. I think Doris went to the doctor for the first time, since she gave birth, when she was in her seventies, and Diana was close to the same too. For those wondering, they share none of the same habits. One has two beers a day, and the other hasn't had two beers in her life combined. One lives on sweets and the other gives most of her candy away.
Diana is still driving and continues to rack up her seven miles a week. I recently took her car in for a state smog test, and they couldn't do it, because we had replaced the battery three weeks ago, and the computer needs at least 150 miles after a repair to reset the information needed for the test. It needs to be done by the end of September and she might hit 150 miles by September 2022.
The last time I took her car in for an oil change the guy came back out and said it would be a waste of money for him to do it since she had only put on 500 miles since the last change, two years ago.
Doris likes to start her day early and generally is up and eating breakfast by 6:15 every morning. She also ends her day early as she is in bed, watching TV, and falling asleep, by 6:15 every night.
Last week her bedroom door flew open around 7:30 PM, which is very unusual, so we rushed over to see what was the problem. She looked at us and apologized for oversleeping and missing breakfast. It seems she had a really good nap and was convinced it was 7:30 AM. We sent her back to bed and suggested she get a good eleven more hours of sleep.
Every day is like going on an "E" ticket ride at Disneyland, a thrill a minute. When things get crazy we just try to take a deep breath and enjoy the fact that both are still around for us to get crazy over. For us, its mothers day, everyday.