Leading The Way

With her 92nd birthday approaching (the end of August), my mother Ruthe must contemplate the final days (or years, we hope) of her incredible life on this planet. I’ve shared her stories more than a dozen times in this space, among them Everybody’s FineThe Tale of Bobbie Pringle (in 2 parts), and Safe In His Arms. I’ve also posted poems where she was my subject:  Mother of Mine, Touchstone. Along life’s journey, she has embraced numerous adventures, taken surprising risks and absorbed monumental losses. What a blessing she has been to me (and her other offspring)!

The photo above was taken a couple weeks ago. She needed groceries and I was in town, so we drove to the nearby SuperCenter. Because she lacks the stamina she once had, I suggested she try the motorized shopping cart. I’ve never used one of these devices … nor had she until that day! (Keep in mind, she’s almost totally blind, with only a sliver of cloudy light squeezing into the uppermost corner of her left eye.) Still, I figured the electric cart was worth trying, since I worried her knees might give way during our trek through the massive store.

As things turned out, we managed to collect her groceries without inflicting excess damage to the cart or any merchandise lining the aisles … and thankfully, no customers were permanently injured during this endeavor! When she first grasped the forward/reverse lever, the cart unexpectedly shot forward, leaving me far behind. I caught up quickly and decided to set my hand to the “wheel” to control the cart’s speed and direction. It was my chance to walk beside her, guiding her to the k-cups, the oatmeal and her other important purchases. Making our way (slowly) around the store, she depended on my guidance, but strange as it might seem, she was leading the way … as she always has! Continue reading “Leading The Way”

Advertisements

Let Them Be Little

Poor Connor. He is possibly the most infamous little fellow in grade school because almost everyone has heard his mom’s frustrated voice as she speaks into her smart-phone, summoning iPhone’s version of the Shell Answer Man and she asks:  Why is Connor having trouble focusing in school? The question appears to bamboozle Siri who answers:  Having trouble finding Connor’s middle school? The mini-drama goes on for sixty seconds in the video, less in the radio spot.

Yes, it’s part of an ad campaign. Yes, if you follow the link to understood.org, you’ll find a website offering helpful resources and encouragement for parents trying to address the perceived learning disabilities of their offspring. And maybe, I’ll even cede, consulting Siri as a primary resource for professional advice is a clever tongue-in-cheek approach to the issue. Continue reading “Let Them Be Little”

I’ll Be There For You

Twenty years ago, a television show called FRIENDS debuted. The series ran for ten seasons and chronicled the lives of six characters (3 guys, 3 girls), twenty-somethings living in New York City. Billed as a romantic-comedy series, the show aired to generally mixed reviews but quickly built an audience. In many respects, it was SEINFELD for younger adults. (Seinfeld’s primary characters also lived in NYC and were thirty-somethings.)Friends-ImageThough I’ve occasionally caught a clip or two from Friends as I flip through channels, I’ve never actually watched an entire episode. During its initial run, I didn’t exactly fit the age demographic. Now that it’s in syndication, it’s even less appealing to me. But friendship … now that’s something I can get jazzed about! Continue reading “I’ll Be There For You”

A Woman’s Right to Know

One of my dear friends is serving her first term in the Arkansas House of Representatives. This week, she presented a bill that addresses a 2001 Arkansas law entitled The Woman’s Right to Know Act of 2001. After some 14 years, it’s reasonable to think changes in the law are timely and appropriate.Ingraham

My friend’s efforts to advance this bill through both legislative chambers and deliver it to the Governor’s desk were noticed by radio talk host and syndicated columnist Laura Ingraham (see Tweet above) as well as The Washington Times. The bill asserts women who are considering abortion have a right to know and have informed consent about risks associated with abortion. Further, by increasing the waiting period from 24 to 48 hours, the bill provides a greater period of reflection for women to weigh the possible psychological and physical costs of an abortion. Continue reading “A Woman’s Right to Know”

Beauty In The Last Breath

Kara Tippetts died yesterday. She was 38, the mother of four and wife of 17 years to Jason. Though I never had the pleasure to meet her, like scores of others, I “knew” her through a blog, Mundane Faithfulness, where she shared the story of her short life with grace and authenticity.Kara

My first acquaintance with Tippetts came last fall thanks to an open letter she’d written to another woman also suffering from cancer. That woman had decided to proactively end her own life before the cancer could kill her. In November, after that woman died (by her own hand), I posted my thoughts here. Again in January, I posted a second time (with a sonnet) when Kara’s blog announced she’d begun to receive hospice care. Continue reading “Beauty In The Last Breath”

Opening a Door . . . For Closure

Origins matter. Whether your family has lived in the same vicinity for 200 years or you’re part of the broad population that moves around every couple of years, wherever you “come from” is important. My own interest in origins feeds my love for genealogy.

Elfreth's Alley FROM:  http://tiny.cc/zhi5ux
Elfreth’s Alley in Philadelphia PA FROM: http://tiny.cc/zhi5ux

It’s not just the ancestral names and faces who are fascinating but also the places from which they came. There are questions like, what is it that compels a family to uproot their lives in a certain locale and transport lock, stock and all possessions to another place to establish new roots? On the other hand, what drives other families to stay rooted in the same place over many generations?  Continue reading “Opening a Door . . . For Closure”

The Curse of Super-Mommery

Adult children and the moms who love them … these relationships can be challenging, exasperating and beyond bewildering at times! Speaking as one who experiences life from both perspectives, I have come to understand no matter how old I am, I remain always my mother’s daughter. She does not know how to un-mother me just because I have attained adulthood.Mothers-and-daughters-are-closestOn the other hand, there are times when I’m inclined to mother my mother. As she gets older, she is ever more frail, so I tend to be solicitous – she hates that! She has this incredibly strong will that rejects offers of help, even when needed. For example, she has one of those Lifeline medical alerts (the “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” people) but we had difficulty convincing her to actually wear it. (I think she may have believed wearing it was an admission of weakness.) Continue reading “The Curse of Super-Mommery”

Eye For An Eye, Log For A Log

From the time of childhood, we’re admonished not to point fingers at others. Whether it’s because “it’s rude to point” (as my mother often told me) or because a child is trying to shift blame for a misbehavior, pointing one’s finger remains a transgression that’s generally frowned upon … even though it’s a tactic used almost everyday by nearly everyone. Not one of us is immune to hypocrisy.clinton pointed his finger at us_thumb[1]The old saw about finger-pointing … three fingers pointing back at the one who points … occasionally discourages us from engaging our index fingers, but as illustrated above, some ignore that rule of thumb (if I may employ that expression here). The seventeenth anniversary for that infamous denial/finger-pointing event passed just last week. Who has forgotten the strenuous denial, later proven to be laughably false?

Continue reading “Eye For An Eye, Log For A Log”

The Pay-Dirt of Good Intentions

An article on the HuffPost blog earlier this week caught my eye. Entitled 11 Things Empty Nesters Want Parents of Little Kids To Know, the author provides a list of observations … all but the first tip coming from the author’s friends who are already empty nesters. Apparently feeling the inevitable empty nest just around the corner, the author offers her own tip to start the list.Empty-NestIn her opening paragraphs, the author notes with obvious frustration that she’s capable of remembering things, but some memories related to her children are harder to recall. Details of her children’s “firsts” are regrettably fuzzy memories, but the theme song from Gilligan’s Island is annoyingly memorable. (Perhaps she has forgotten the theme song probably played numerous times … searing the music into her brain, while her child’s first step only happened once.)

Continue reading “The Pay-Dirt of Good Intentions”

Reach Out and Touch

My mother-in-law phoned this morning. For many people, this might be an ordinary event. More often than not for me, phone calls from her send a tremor of worry through me.

DSC_0266
With one of her granddaughters, 2010

Because of her various life challenges, using the phone has become a complex operation; her dementia makes communication problematic, plus her hearing has diminished so she can’t always hear information clearly through the receiver. When I receive a call from her, my first thought is she needs emergency care or she’s fretting about an imagined crisis. (Prior experience has borne this out.) Continue reading “Reach Out and Touch”