“Can you drive me, honey?”

I was warned about this transition, but I was not prepared for this simple request to be so weighted. My mom is still capable of taking care of herself and she lives on her own, so it seems even more odd to think that it’s happening now. Tomorrow I take my mother to the doctor for the first time.

It’s not a big deal. It’s a routine thing and one that you shouldn’t really drive yourself home from, so I shouldn’t be freaking out. It’s there, though. Just in the back of my mind. Someday this won’t be a one-time thing.

Someday my mom is going to rely on me. She’ll hate that. I probably will, too. We’re very independent, she and I. It can get tricky. We mean well, but it causes hiccups in our relationship. We’re getting better and I dread it going back to the way it was. She probably does, too, especially now that I’ve been improving my parent voice with Miss O. Mama will not like that one bit.

So now I’ve got this anxiety over taking my mom for routine care and anything that may not be routine care. Do not misunderstand me, I am glad to do it. I’d rather take her than have her attempt it on her own because she didn’t want to “bother me.” We’ve been there before and it was awful for both of us. This is absolutely why she moved up to be closer and I’m glad I have a flexible enough schedule to accommodate it. If she’s not too hopped up, I may even drag her out for coffee afterwards.

Coffee

The anxiety comes from facing the realization that while she may be independent and routine now, this won’t always be the case. I can feel her eyes roll at the thought all the way over here. She’ll go on her own terms, thank you very much, and she doesn’t have time to get old. This is what I love about my mother.

It’s also what worries me. I’m afraid she’ll have a hard time because she’s so very independent. Her terms are pretty set and she’s earned them. Beyond her physical challenges, I also worry about her mental state. Oh, she’s nutters for sure, don’t worry, and she’ll tell you that, but I am too, so what’s the problem?! I foresee many frustrations with joints not working and things not remembered. That would be hard for me, too.  We’re always on our game and when we’re not, we at least remember why. The not remembering is the scariest part for me.

Daddy’s struggle wasn’t fun and I’ll leave it at that for now, but it was blissfully short in comparison with others’. He still had his faculties, his sense of humor and his hair, by God, so while the withering was rapid, it somehow doesn’t seem as bad as it could have been.  Maybe that’s just what I tell myself to get through it. I still haven’t really gotten through it, so that’s probably a total lie, but it is what it is. At least I have memories that are lively and easy to grasp. I’d like my mom’s to be the same.

It’s hard enough to think about how you’d like to go when it’s your turn, so thinking about what you’d want for your folks isn’t any easier. It’s not what Mama would call “dinner table conversation,” either. I am selfish and want her for as long as I can have her, which knowing the women in our family is a pretty darn long time, so please don’t think she’s got one foot in already. She’s got both feet out and ready to kick butt, make no mistake. It’s just one of those things that I feel coming, looming on the horizon like the storm clouds that were so pretty a moment ago, but now it looks like rain.

 

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