Day 129: The Day of the Mother
My mother turned 83 recently, not that she was aware. Ma has a bad case of the forgetful and on a bad day can't remember what day it is, even if you tell her-- over and over again. The doctor says it's dementia; dad says she's doin' the best she can. But on the day we had her birthday celebration at Johnny Harris she did not know what day it was or what the cake was for. Don't worry about Ma readin' this: she thinks the computer is the portable tv with a lousy choice of channels and prefers the big screen in the living room where she watches Ellen DeGeneres.
My mother can remember 1953 like it was yesterday but can't remember yesterday. She can't remember what you said to her five minutes ago. On a really bad day we'll have lunch and then pay the bill and then go to the car and she'll turn to me and ask me where do I want to go for lunch. The doctor explains it this way: my mother can remember events that took place back when her tape recorder was functioning. But now that it's on the fritz, my mother can't remember what's happening now. It's truly a scary thing to observe. I don't want to end up like this.
Consequently, if I want to enjoin my mother in a conversation I have to resort to remote references from her past. I can always get a laugh out of her by mentioning her Uncle Mose to whom I bear a striking resemblance: he, like me, was a big man with a bald head and a whack sense of humor. Mose had no other ambition in life except to start a Tau Epsilon Phi chapter at the University of Georgia and play the piano in honky tonks and bars. He was known around town as "Cowboy Baby," for his odd affectation of wooing women with baby talk. But I digress. My point is: if I want to check in with Ma, I will introduce myself to her as Uncle Mose and if it gets a laugh out of her then I know she's still in there somewhere.
Which brings me to this Mother's Day and how I hope to bring one more smile to her face:
I have a favorite photo from 1957, when I was 4 and my father dressed me in a flannel New York Yankees baseball uniform and made me the bat boy for the little league team that he managed.
He coached teams sponsored by Starland Dairies and First Federal and Chatham Steel, and I was mascot until old enough to play the game. The photo was taken in front of our apartment on the corner of Paulsen and Washington Avenue, and so I went back to the same site dressed in a pinstripe jersey and recreated the photo from 1957 to illustrate this year's Mother's Day card. It got a great response out of Ma last year; I hope it has the same effect this.
So today we rest the body politic and devote our time and attention to Mother. For those of you coping with a situation similar to mine, I empathize with the mixed blessing of still having a parent that slips away by degree. You live long enough, you'll see just about everything in Life; none of us gets a free pass. My love and thanks to all you mothers out there. Enjoy your day.