Some years ago, I began a series of posts on my blog Hot Flashes of Inspiration chronicling conversations I had with my elderly mother. I figured the head-slapping moments my sister and I enjoyed were something my readers would enjoy. It would be selfish not to share these moments. Besides, sharing them meant we all could wonder how I managed to get this far without extensive therapy.
"Mom, let's go to that great Mexican restaurant tonight! I hear the food is fantastic."
"I don't eat Mexican. It doesn't agree with me. Besides, I already made something for us."
"Well, OK. What is it?"
"Taco soup." [Insert irony here]
My readers loved hearing about The Queen Mother (as I began to call her) and these posts were always very popular. I wrote about her getting a new cell phone, how someone tried to kill her with chicken salad and when she finally got a medic alert device. The best part of these posts was getting a phone message from her where she would alternately laugh and cry then tell me I was the most wonderful daughter and the worst for moving so far away from her.
I recently wrote a post about feeling invisible after age 50, but nothing could compare to what Mom really goes through daily. My dad passed away in 2005 and her life as she had known it for almost 60 years ended. She retired from teaching after 22 years. Her children are busy with their children and don't visit enough. The burdens of keeping up a house all fall on her shoulders. She has developed a condition which causes her to be so tired she cannot move from the couch. Sometimes, it is all too much for her to handle alone.
Mom stays active with Mah Jong, Sunday school, outings with her teacher friends and book club, but most of the time, she feels lost and alone. Invisible is child's play compared to what she feels, and I hurt for her. I am in awe of her for having the resilience to be positive day in and day out.
To make her laugh and feel special means the world to me. I would do anything to lift her spirits, but living so far away makes it hard. So, I write. I celebrate her life and the gifts she's given her family by giving her an awesome title and adoring fans.
I decided this Christmas to give her something to remind her of how special she is and how much fun there is yet to be had...
I hope her tiara and sceptre will remind her of these things when she is feeling down and alone. I hope she will whack my brother with the sceptre when he comes over and eats all her food. I hope she will put on the tiara and lord over her subjects at Mah Jong and book club. I hope she laughs and smiles when she sees it on her dresser.
I hope she knows she is loved.