Monday, January 26, 2009

Worrying about Mom

Many times over the years, my mother has told me that one never stops worrying about one's kids. My girls are in their mid-twenties now, but I still worry about them all the time. Now that one of them is married, I worry about her husband too. There's a lovely little saying that I have seen lately, "Being a mother is like having a part of your heart live outside your body." I can certainly relate to that as my children move out into the world.

But what nobody ever told me, however, was how much I would worry about my parents as they grew older. Perhaps because most of my grandparents died before I was born, my parents didn't have to worry about taking care of their parents when they grew older. However my parents and my in-laws are all in their 80's. My mother had a stroke several years ago, and although she made a good recovery,her health is still affected by it. My in-laws are both rather frail- more so, especially, after a severe auto accident about 18 months ago.

My mother broke her hand before Christmas. She slipped while coming into the house from the garage and broke her hand when she put it out to try to catch herself. Then, a few weeks ago, she fell off of a stool and injured her back. When she fell off the stool, she was standing on it and reaching for something in a cupboard. Now why an 80+ year-old woman with a broken hand was standing on a stool to begin with, I don't know. but that's typical of my mother.

My aunt and my sister talked about how to keep Mom off of stools. I said there's no way to do it. If she doesn't have a stool to climb on, she'll climb on something else. Heck, she'll stack books on top of each other and climb on them. My mother is not only very independent, but she is absolutely incapable of NOT doing something. She has to be busy all the time.

I suppose I should be happy that even in her early 80's my mother is still able to climb on stools. She drives herself to the library every week where she volunteers in the periodicals department, and she drives herself to Curves every morning where she does the Curves thing. My sister and I worry about her driving herself in the car. We joke that one of these days, we're going to see her description on one of those signs by the highway: "Missing! 82 years old. Last seen driving a blue sedan." We joke about it, but we don't really think it's funny.

So, I worry about my mom. And I would have to change little saying a mentioned earlier: "Being a daughter means you carry a piece of your parents' heart wherever you go."

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