Sometimes I Feel Like a Piece of Bologna

Monday, December 01, 2008


“Mom, why are you climbing that ladder when I’m here! Don’t do that!”

This sounds like my normal mantra to my mom. At 87, she still thinks she can just scamper up the step stool and get something from the top shelf. But she’s so unstable on her feet that it scares me silly when I see her doing that. No matter that the other 27 days of the month I’m not there and she has to manage by herself. When I’m there, I want to be the one doing the climbing.

But this wasn’t me scolding Mom. It was my son scolding me. He and his wife were here for Thanksgiving, and he moved our DSL router to the top of a kitchen cabinet to give us better coverage. I wanted to adjust some of the decorative items on top of the cabinet, so as usual, just grabbed my step stool, climbed onto the counter top, and did what I needed to do. Son came in about then and scolded me.

Of course, I don’t think I’m nearly as unsafe as Mom – or nearly as old -- but I suppose to Son and DIL, I seem pretty old. I remember how old our parents seemed when we got married – and they were younger than we are now!

This trip, like most of Son’s trips home, has been full of tasks we needed his technical support on. He was bemoaning the fact that it seems that every time he comes home, we have a list for him. Funny, every time I go to Mom’s, she has a stack of stuff for me to do, review, or advise her on – in addition to the doctor appointments I accompany her to. We’re learning that as we age, we need the younger generation’s help, just as they need us for other things. In the circle of family love, we each have something valuable to offer. We may lament the time our parents’ needs take from our own agendas, but the older I get, the more I value family. The more I value the unique skills and contributions of the different generations. And the more precious multi-generation time becomes.

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