giving back

By: ewhite422

Aug 23 2010

Category: Uncategorized


My mother and stepdad just signed a contract on a house across the street, 4 doors down.  They will move in a couple of weeks! 

Some of my friends who are worried about my getting immersed and losing myself in eldercare are probably rolling their eyes as they read this, but I cannot NOT do it.  It would be foreign to who I am.

My mother’s decline with Parkinson’s/dementia (Lewy Body Disease) is accelerating.  It pains me to see her bent over and shuffling along, when she was always on me to hold my shoulders back and look straight ahead.  She can’t help it now…I was just a lazy teenager then.

Now I’m giving orders about where to step and how to move.  Soon I’ll be preparing all the meals…and more.

Being the only child brat that I am, I sometimes test how much her memory has faded by trying to play a trick on her.  More about that in a minute.

A few years ago she finally gave me all her sterling silver that she has been collecting all her life.  She waited to give it to me until I got “settled,” according to her.  That took a long time, since I moved 21 times in 24 years in my first marriage, and then she was probably waiting to see if my second marriage would last, (we’ve been married 8 years now).

I think she’s finally comfortable with my being “settled.”

Back to the silver.  She hates to polish it, but she loves for me to use it.  She has been obsessed with silver, fine china, and crystal for years, probably because her family was poor when she was growing up.  I do not even KNOW how many sets of dishes I have now, all but one set (my wedding china), given to me by her.  I have Thanksgiving dishes, 2 sets of Christmas dishes, china with tiny spring flowers around the rim, and even dishes in the shape of a chicken, (to serve bacon and eggs on, off course).

I noticed that the silver needed polishing the other day, so I tested her by saying, “Mom, you told me that you would come and help me polish the silver.”  I crossed my fingers behind my back, while mentally asking God for forgiveness for lying.

“I DID NOT!” she said.

“Good!” I said, “I was just teasing you, just to see if you remembered how much you hate polishing.”

Still the brat, I think I’ll test her next on ironing.  Maybe she’s forgotten how much she hates it.

Daughters do give back…mostly good…but then there are the little scores to settle, memories of her telling me when I was a teenager that my blackheads on my nose would go away if I did not squeeze them, (NOT!), that if I did not eat chocolate, my face would not break out, (5 years without chocolate is criminal), and insisting that I HAD to be a virgin when I got married, (thus my wedding at age 19).  That may be too much information, but it definitely affected my life!

You would think by this time, I’d have grown up.

And mostly, I have.  But mothers and daughters are tightly connected, and our shared memories are long and complicated.

I will remember her rocking me all night when, as a child I struggled to breathe because of asthma.  I will remember her when I awoke in the emergency room, telling me that I was not dead, (I asked her if I was in Heaven after suffering a concussion from a bicycle wreck);  I will remember how she took off work and taught me to care for my firstborn; and I will remember how she held me as I sobbed over a failed marriage.

I will remember all these things with the love that only mothers and daughters can know.

And I will give back.


5 comments on “giving back”

  1. I must stop…. I have cried enough. How you touch souls by sharing yourself!

  2. Wow! Elaine, this is a wonderful read. It touched my heart and I hope to see more. Keep on………

  3. keep it up girl! Do you have an incredible day. This is your time!!

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