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Sweet and Sour Lady

Life is like a bright, beautiful, round lemon… Sometimes sweet. Sometimes sour.

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have you called your mother today

Have you called your mother today? Day 24 of 152…The Night of The Final Countdown

A Time For Everything    Ecclesiastes 3:1-11
A Time For Everything
Ecclesiastes 3:1-11

The day started off difficult from the time her swollen, discolored feet hit the floor. Her oxygen levels were low. Her blood pressure was low. She was retaining fluid and struggling to breathe.

Her sense of humor however, was well intact and on the rise. She made that clear during the daily weight maintenance routine as she managed to scoot the scale across the kitchen floor several times to re-weigh until she found a weight that satisfied her. She let us know by stating, “There! That’s the way I like it.”

Seeing her boisterous personality made New Year’s Eve a happy day for all of us. Even if another possible trip to Christus St. Vincent was the ‘elephant in the room‘. The day was full of monitoring her levels and peaked with raising her oxygen tank at an all time high.

The countdown to the drop of the Waterford Crystal Ball in Times Square was ticking away on NBC’s Dick Clark‘s Rockin’ Eve (even though it is now hosted with Ryan Seacrest) and so were the hours where everyone would be awake to watch Mommy sleep through the night; counting the seconds between each long pause before the next breath.

I decided to sleep on the couch with her.  At one point she put her perfectly manicured hand on my leg while we both dozed off.  Memories again began to flutter through my head. I slept with my mother for pretty much the first ten to twelve years of my life.  It was just the two of us most of that time. I can remember staying up to watch which celebrity Johnny Carson would have on The Tonight Show or which guest animal would pee on him! I enjoyed laughing along with her at Carol Burnett‘s silly antics on The Carol Burnett Show which also came on way too late for me to be up.

Memories… I know my children and I are making memories each and every day but which ones will stand out most to them forty, fifty, sixty years down the road when the roles are reversed? When they are taking care of me or when they are telling my grand babies stories of their mother. The thoughts make me smile. Happy smiles. Sincere smiles. Smiles that make me GLOW because I know that I am allowing God’s light to shine through me for Him and they see that. I also know that my mother sees that during this time of hers.

We went through so many things together: My mother and I. It only seems fitting to be going through this together too. Literally. Together. On the same couch. Counting down the same seconds of 2014, together.

Making memories~

Jennifer

Have you called your mother today? Day 23 of 152… We Will Talk About This Later

Funny how the roles reverse.  I’ve mentioned this before as far as the caretaker. I have noticed as of late, behaviors seem to reverse as well. Stubbornness. Sassyness. Defiance. Denial. Or maybe that is just my family.

Just today I had to tell my mother not to take a shower until I got home.  Very similar to something I would say to my children.  Of course, she didn’t mind me and took two tumbles.  My brother, John, and my husband, David, were thankfully home with her.  They were able to help her afterward.

When I arrived they told me what had happened. I tried to talk to her about it. She wouldn’t even look me in the eye. She raised her hand and simply said, “we will talk about this later.”  In other words, she was too embarrassed and knew what she had done risked the safety of her health.

Like a child, she got caught and hoped I would forget and not be as difficult on her if we waited until later to talk about it.  The truth is. I was not mad at her.  I was worried she was hurt. I was frieghtened at what could have happened.  Just like she would be if the role were reversed.  Just like I would be if I was in the same situation with one of my children.

One thing I have learned for sure from this entire experience with my mother; do not wait until later.  There may not be a later.

Making memories~

Jennifer

Have you called your mother today? Day 22 of 152… A Time To Refresh

Create a time to refresh~not just the toes
Create a time to refresh~not just the toes

It’s a treat not to have to call my mother on days when I get to sit right beside her and have meaningful conversations face to face.  I enjoy not having to discuss her medical condition all the time.  Today we enjoyed a little girl time.  I was able to give her a mini-pedicure. I haven’t done that in thirty years!

She keeps flexing her toes to admire the freshly shaped nails and color.  All girls enjoy having pretty toes! Right? Right!

I have several friends who remember spending the night with me when I was younger who also remember painting my mother’s toenails at the sleepover.  Funny! I wonder how she bribed us into doing that?

New goal-Spend more time with my girls painting toenails…not at the spa but at home.  Create time..time to cleanse, time to refresh…not just the toes.

Once again. Memories. They settle in so deeply that you forget about them for years until a tiny wisp brings them back up for air. Could it be an angel fluttering by? My imagination would like to think so.

Making memories~

Jennifer

 

Have you called your mother today? Day 14 of 152…The Fine Art of Taking Control

A little frustration set in today.  Not with me but with my mother.  My brother and I were trying to get her medications lined out for the week in her pill containers. She, of course, wanted to be in control.

My siblings and I have been rotating taking care of her.  It is currently my younger brother, John’s, week. We were on the phone trying to figure out things that would be much easier to handle if we were together, in person, handling these things.

But, now, during this season in our life, we are buckling down and doing what we need to do, what we have to do, how we can.  My mother on the other hand insists that she can handle it all and does not need our help.

She has always been one of the most independent people I know.  She has never wanted anyone to do anything for her. It’s a fine art giving up control of the things you once did so easily and it’s also a fine art of taking over the things someone once took for granted.

As I decorated a set of bookshelves tonight over my desk, I positioned each book, decorative piece, and candlestick perfectly..or perfectly in my perspective.  I’ll know if anyone has moved them or disturbed them.  I get that from my mother.  She loves to decorate and when she feels good (like me) there is a place for everything and everything has it’s place. A control thing.

But in the end, do the bookshelves even matter? Do the pill containers even matter? No. What matters is that we have someone there to help us. What matters is that we are not alone. Don’t wait until the end to give control up to God; to get your priorities straight. It’s a fine art. But it’s easier than you think.

Making memories~

Jennifer

Have you called your mother today? Day 11 of 152…Time To Manage Time

How is one possibly late to every single thing in one day? How is that possible? My second question is how is that possible before noon?

I wake up at 6:00 AM.  I have bible time, prayer time, coffee time, mommy duty time which includes getting the kids fed, lunches made and to school. I get home and usually have a few chores to do.

Today, I happened to have had a few extra things on my list.  I had an appointment at 9:45 AM, I had to bring a fruit tray to the class party which began at 10:15 AM and early dismissal was at 11:15 AM and my oldest got out of school at 12:40 PM.

David and I had another appointment at 1:30 PM and Grant’s piano recital was at 5:30 PM.  I was late to every single thing EXCEPT the recital thank goodness!!!!

But how??? Maybe one thing.  I could handle one thing. But everything? I’m burning at both ends rapidly and I don’t like the outcome.

My job is to take care of my children, my husband and my family including my parents.  But I can’t do that if I don’t take care of myself.  I do realize that.  I definitely don’t want to stress myself out so much trying to be super woman that I end up where I can’t take care of anyone again like I have been before.

Time to watch the warning signs. Take a deep breath. Embrace the things that matter. Like people. Prioritize the tasks that can wait. Like chores.

Making memories~

Jennifer

 

Have you called your mother today? Day 6 of 152…A Lesson Learned

Ouch. Stretch. Yawn. Sigh. Snap. Crackle. Pop.

All that just to lift my coffee to my lips.  Okay, maybe that is a tad bid exaggerated. But I am moving slowly.  My body hurts from my hair follicles to my toe nails.

I have overworked my mind and my muscles this week getting my home back in order.

Today, we decorate for Christmas.

Raise the roof kids…I mean the ornament box lid.  It’s time to hang those ornaments. Remember the rules. Neat.  Tidy.  Orderly.  Up. Down.  All the way around.

Wait a minute.  Who am I kidding?  “Live without regrets.”  “Making memories.” “Remember how the blemishes got there.”

So, I calmly let the tidings roll.

One eye open…

Holding my breath…

This isn’t so bad…

Actually, this is fun…

Turn up the music…

This may just very well be may favorite tree we have had as a family.  It is beautifully decorated and the ornaments are perfectly placed.  Even the Lenox ones dangling from the very bottom where the munchkin kitties can attempt to swat them all day and all night with their tiny paws! So fun.

The royal dog, Jackson, overseeing the task at hand.
The royal dog, Jackson, overseeing the task at hand.

 

Taylor Family Christmas Tree.
Taylor Family Christmas Tree.

No stress.  No directions.  No one quit or complained.  No huffing, puffing or are we done yets.

Lesson learned: letting my children take over today gave me a huge sense of pride. A sense of peace. A sense of calmness.  A sense of security.

I myself sensed those same feelings from my mother as I spoke to her several times today.  She is in pain.  I hate that.  Thankfully she trusts me.  She trusts me to call her nurse for her to relay information.  Together we can adjust her medications and work as a family to help her.

Another one of those, “Wow!” moments.

Making memories~

Jennifer

Have you called your mother today? Day 5 of 152…That Feeling of Peace

Remember the crib scene in Terms of Endearment when Shirley MacLaine quietly sneaks into the nursery to make sure her baby is still breathing?  It is one of those “new Mommy” moments that so many of us have experienced.  Second guessing our every move rather than going with our “mommy gut” or better yet…trusting that God is in control.

I’ve been there as a Mommy many times over.  Hoping.  Praying I made the right choice or decision. I’m sure my parents sat back as if watching a funny movie. Perhaps even thinking, “Wow! We did pretty good.”

Observing my children grow into their teens, I’m finding myself adjusting to the realization that, “Wow! We too are doing a pretty good job.” They are making mostly good decisions.  We will continue to raise them by a Godly example so as they mature, so will their decisions.

So why is it that if my parents did a good job and I’m doing a good job that I’m so worried about the choices my parents are making with their own healthcare?

“It’s complicated.”

The love you have for a child and the love you have for a parent never stops.  Yes, God is ultimately in control of the big things and the small things but that doesn’t mean to sit back and do nothing.

So WHEN you call today, be bold.  Ask about insurance.  Ask about health.  You might even ask about bowel movements! There is no telling where the conversation may lead.  Neither one of you may even realize help was needed.  Kind of like when you were a teenager!

Like our conversation today, it may start off tense because of unwelcomed pain or unwelcomed fears from a new diagnosis.  Hopefully, the conversation will end with a sense of comfort.  Comfort knowing that the two of you will be dealing with it together.

No matter how old you are.  No matter how old your children are.  No matter how old your parents are.  We all need each other.  That’s the whole point.  Isn’t it?  To help one another.

Don’t wait until it’s too late to ask…or to call.

Remind yourself of the greater understanding.  The bigger picture.  The end result.

No matter what.

God is still in control.

Thank you Rachel Aldous for these words from A Mother’s Prayer (Hannah’s Song)…

“May God grant you peace in the midst of a storm,

May God give you strength even when your forlorn,

May you answer the door when Jesus comes knocking,

May wisdom guide you when your mouth is talking,

May discretion protect you and keep you pure,

May you never stumble or fall from the Lord,

May your heart remain humble to the very end,

May uprightness and truth be what you defend,

May the world not ensnare or change who you are,

May the light that’s within you shine like the stars,

May angels surround you body, spirit, mind,

May favor and peace be yours to find,

May rejection and peace never reach you,

May your spirit grow bold for what your called to,

As you rest in God’s care, I will rest too,

Knowing that Jesus is watching over you

Amen.”

Making memories~

Jennifer

Have you called your mother today? Day 3 of 152…Anxiety, Disappointments and Belly Laughs.

The day started with anticipation.  A big appointment was to take place at 2:00 PM.  I knew more than one phone call would occur.  This was the first time my mother would meet with her new cardiologist outside the hospital room without me.

I hated not being able to be with her.  I knew some information would be difficult to hear or maybe even difficult to understand.  The information has been explained many times but it just isn’t sinking in for some reason.  Resistance? Denial? I was thankful I could at least be on conference call during the appointment.

My first call to her was at 8:15 AM my time, 7:15 AM her time, right after I dropped off my children at school.  I wanted to hear her voice.  Assess her mood.  See if I could notice any anxiety.  But all was good.  She was looking forward to getting ready.  She was excited.  This was a positive sign!

She hustled me off the phone with love telling me she would talk to me after the appointment.   Knowing I had two other doctor appointments scheduled for my girls she wished me well and we were off on our days.

2:00 PM could not arrive quickly enough as I finished one motherly duty at my oldest doctor’s appointment, and sat down for the conference call for my next “motherly duty” only to realize it was 1:oo PM in New Mexico! First disappointment of the day.

Off to shower… Wait.. Not enough time for a shower… Second disappointment of the day…kind of.

Third disappointment of the day…my mother didn’t like her doctor, how the appointment went, the news she received…any of it.

Great news at Brooke’s appointment.  No broken fingers.  Whew!

Off to make dinner…

Fourth disappointment of the day…at times my children have absolutely no table manners WHAT SO EVER.  They make sounds I never knew were possible. Eat in ways I never imagined. But, the best part of it all… we laughed so hard at one another we were all in tears. Our tummy’s hurt.  The smiles…the smiles were magical.  I wouldn’t change any of it and I’m so grateful I was here to see it.

Making memories~

Jennifer

 

 

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