Four generations were sitting around the kitchen table. The kitchen table has always been our gathering place, not the formal living room. Mom always has to have food laid out and it was the same scenario when I was young visiting the Grand- folks.
I think I stopped that custom, but so did family rooms and man caves. My grandson was excited about his scholarship to Bucknell and we were talking about visiting him and going other places when my mom entered the conversation saying she wished she was young again and could go and do things.
I turned to her and said, “Mom, if you could be any age you wanted, what age would you choose to be?”
She didn’t even hesitate, “I wish I was 80 again, because I was able to get around and drive and do just about anything I wanted.”
Can you imagine wishing to be 80? It didn’t sound so absurd when I realized that going back 18 years is a pretty big step for any of us.
The same pictures, curtains, sofa, chairs, tables, lamps, plates, cups, and fridge magnets are in place, just like always. My bed and quilt are the same. I wouldn’t want it any different. We’re all another year older and that is always different. Some of us are dealing with health issues that didn’t exist a year ago. Mom’s eyes and ears are very bad and she has slowed considerably. Yet, her 98 year-old-mind hasn’t changed since she was 40; she’s sharp as a tack, as they say. Or, as she says, “I still got most of my marbles, don’t I?”
When it is possible to “move back” home for 4-6 weeks every year as I have done each year the past half-dozen years, a sort of whiplash in the brain takes place. My mom has lived in this home for 76 years; I spent my first 19 years here. She’s tired of living but still laughs and enjoys every day. She says there will be no nursing home in her future…period. “If they try to carry me out of here, I’m going to take a powder.” (I believe you have to be of a certain age to understand that)
This morning, Mom said her friend, M.A., wants to visit while I’m here. He loves mom and visits her often. He never forgets her birthday or holidays. I think he’s a few years younger than me and I remembered we had a great chat when I met him two years ago. He told me then about the recent death of his longtime partner and the difficulties of being gay in a small mid-western town. Since there has been so much progressive evolution of opinion on gay-rights, I’m hoping he’s in a positive mind-frame.
Mom interrupted my thoughts and said, “I think he’s interested in me, but he’s much too young.”
I said, “Mom, you do know he’s gay, don’t you?”
“Yes,” she said, “but I could probably change that…he’s just way too young.”
“Really, Mom, I think he’d rather have a relationship with a man.”
“Do you want me to leave when he comes over?”
PICTURE OF MOM at AGE 95(three years ago)