“Hi, Mom, how are you doing?”
I love my mom. She is an amazing lady. I’m glad she’s my mom. Memories began flooding my mind. Memories of Mom trying to carry a small mattress up the stairs from the basement. Tommy, my 16 year old son, said, “Mema, I am carrying that. “
“No, that’s o.k. I can get it.”
“No. I’m taking it. I won’t have my 70 year old grandma carrying a mattress up the stairs!” After a little tussle, Mom reluctantly surrendered the mattress.
Then this memory from July 27, 2003, Mom’s 70th birthday. I squinted as I glanced back, checking to make sure all was set. “Tension!” boomed my dad, the driver, the only driver, of his ski boat. Vroom, the boat shot forward, quickly accelerating. My gaze was focused behind us, up popped Mom, dripping and smiling…slalom skiing!
“She’s up!” I called to let Dad know. He glance behind, and then turned his head forward and scanned the lake for other boats.
Weaving in and out of the wake, Mom laughing and waving to us. I lifted my hand and waved back. I smiled jealousy. It still is so easy for her. Wow! Yes, I could ski easily…on two skis…but I always struggled getting up on one. After a long trip around the lake, Dad pulled back gently on the throttle, and Mom gracefully slid down into the water.
More memories…Mom cooking full turkey dinners, every Thanksgiving and every Christmas-and she still does! Mom working in the garden and canning 72 quarts of tomatoes, freezing quarts of golden corn, canning 50 pints of salsa, and much more. I remember the time I asked Mom if I could can some of the “extra” green beans from her garden when I came in the next day. “Yes, we have a lot still on the bushes. You’re welcome to them.”
So, when I arrived at Mom and Dad’s at about 6:00 PM that next day, with all 6 kids in tow, she suggested, “Let’s go pick some green beans. Want to?”
“Sure!” I replied.
Carefully setting the second brown paper bag overflowing with green beans on the kitchen floor, I’m sure ready to sit down and rest, I thought. After all, I’ve traveled over 500 miles by myself today…with the kids!
I did sit down, but now without getting busy. Mom walked in, a smile lighting her face, with two bowls. Then, two bags, and the two bags of beans. We began popping off the ends of the beans and breaking them into even pieces, talking and laughing all the while.
Mom left me to finish on my own while she made the dinner. After finishing, we worked together to wash, dry, and put away the dishes. It’ll be great to just sit down and relax. No sooner had the thought flitted across my consciousness when I heard the cheery, “Why don’t we can those green beans?”
What?!? You want to can them now? I glanced at the clock. It was getting on to 10 o’clock. I suppressed a sigh. “Of course,” I answered without a hint of my inward reservation, “Of, course!” But inside, I was thinking, I can’t let Mom outdo me!
So, we processed and canned that night until about 2 A.M. That is my mom… energetic…loving life…cheerful….alive.
Mom’s feeble reply jolted me from my reverie.
“Oh, I’m hobbling around.”
Alarm bells clanged in my mind. Who was this woman who answered me? I don’t know this person.
Mom, now 86, always so full of fun and vigor; Mom who so loved life even though the years chugged along; Mom, the shorter version of herself who laughed at the future; ; Mom who proudly wears her silver “crown;” Mom, who to me, seems forever young, had answered. She had answered, “Oh, I’m hobbling around”??
Mom hobbling around? Mom feeble? “No,” a thousand times, “No!”
I blinked as if in a dark room and the lights beamed on. I shook my head, tring to understand the magnitude of this statement. Mom, my mom, who thrives on being with people…cooking dinners…driving friends to church events…opening her home to visitors…Mom was isolated, lonely, sad, disconnected.
“What do you mean, Mom?”
“Oh, you know. My back in hurting so I have to walk so slowly now,”
But no, it wasn’t her back that was hurting, it was her heart.
Lovingly, we conversed…my words drawing forth the mom I know and love; our words breathing life into her death of aloneness and isolation; our words reviving her.
Yes, you were right, dear hubby. Right, right, right! Thank you for saying, “Make the call!”
This conversation was a wake-up call for me. I’ve been calling my mother every day since this conversation. With social distancing, our parents and friends and neighbors, especially the elderly, are isolated and alone…and, probably, afraid. Won’t you call, or write, someone you love or know today?
“…encourage the fainthearted, help the weak…’ I Thessalonians 5:14b