Father Time, you’re a bitch

My mom came over yesterday. We had planned to go shopping and get our hair cut. But you know what they say about best laid plans…. I woke up with a hitch in my lower back Tuesday. It just got worse as the day progressed. Today it really hurts. Also, our air conditioning bit the big one a little before midnight. I’m trying to be grateful that it only got to 90 degrees today. I’m not doing a very good job being grateful.

So, I canceled our shopping day and rescheduled my hair appointment. Mom stopped by before her appointment to drop some things off. Only, she got the appointment time wrong, so she missed it altogether. I could tell that she was frustrated with herself. I seem to forget everything nowadays, so I know how she feels. It got me thinking about time.

Sometimes I play this game in my head about the past. I’ll think of a memory and try to remember when it happened. I usually fail at that, unless one of the kids or grands is in the memory. Then I can usually put a year to the memory. It’s so infuriating. I used to remember EVERYTHING. Age, anxiety, pain, medication…. I guess that’s the perfect cocktail to erase a large portion of both minor and major details.

Today, after my mom left, I thought of all the times that she showed up just when I needed her. I know that I talk about my fear of driving. I very seldom do it anymore. But, my mom is absolutely fearless when it comes to being behind the wheel. She always has been. She has no qualms about going on a solo road trip. I think it comes from being a Marine’s wife. She doesn’t get upset if she gets lost in an area completely foreign to her. She just drives until she’s back in familiar territory. I do believe that she’s probably driven on just about every highway in the continental U.S.

I thought of the times she would come to me and the kids when things got bad with my first husband. There were no cell phones then, yet I always remember how I could call on her landline and she always came. Or, how she would pick me up and take me shopping for groceries. We’ve walked down grocery store aisles way too many times to count. Remember her coming to the kids’ games. She would sit in the bleachers just watching, or she’d work the concessions, entry gate, just wherever she was needed at the time.

Hospital visits after surgery? She was usually there when I woke up. If she wasn’t, she’d be there soon after. Recovery time at home after surgeries? She (and often Daddy too) would come over with fountain drinks, sweets, adult coloring books, magazines, whatever. The point is, she’d be there.

All of this rambling is to say that seeing her upset about forgetting her appointment time was jarring. I see my kids getting older. I realize how old I am when I see my oldest GRANDDAUGHTER driving😱. But, I never think that my mom is getting older. I guess I just tend to think that she’s always going to be there. But, she’s going to be 76 this year. She’s the youngest 75 year old person that I’ve ever known. Yet the reality is she’s not immortal. She is getting older. I don’t like that thought. I want to stomp my feet, shake my fists in the air and rail at the heavens. I want to insist that she stay young and healthy forever. But, I know that’s impossible.

I don’t like these thoughts. Not one bit. I don’t ever want to imagine a life without her. I’m pouting. Maybe it’s because I’m really hot and I really hurt. But, honestly? I think it’s because my heart doesn’t want to think of a world with no Pat/Mom/Mimi in it.

The Human Team

I’ve had to put myself on a strict diet. For my physical and mental health. No, I’m not talking about food. I’m talking about NEWS. I was like a starving person and information about Covid19 was my craving. So, I’d go straight to my local newspaper site first thing every morning. Then I’d hit both main papers in the D/FW area. I should have been full by then, right? Nope, I’d continue to stuff myself with Yahoo news, The Skimm, articles in my email feed and any random tidbit that showed up on my Google page. I’d also read the comments on each article. After about an hour and a half of binging on everything that I could find, I’d be sick. Sick with fear. Sick with anxiety. Sick with shame over the behavior of both strangers and friends. Sick with shame over my own indignation.

It’s hard enough to deal with a virus that’s not only killing people, making whole communities sick, isolating us from our loved ones and causing a huge, “never before seen in our time”, economic blow, but it’s absolutely gut wrenching what it’s done to our humanity. Instead of uniting and fighting this virus as one, we’ve taken to fighting EACH OTHER. Social media and news reports are full of stories of fighting, name calling, bullying and just plain ugliness. Why? When did an illness become political? When did we decide that a differing opinion gives us the right to forgo basic courtesy? What happened to kindness? To the golden rule that we learned before we ever started school?

I may not agree with everything that you believe. You may not agree with all that I believe. Does that mean that we have to spew horrible things at each other? We’re all dealing with something. It’s not a contest over who has it worse. It’s not a reason to discard decency and shame a person just because their thoughts don’t align with yours. I’m not looking through rose colored glasses. I’m not trying to be a pollyanna. I’m just afraid that if we don’t stop, check our entitlement and our anger, getting through this pandemic may be the least of our worries.

This week, and maybe next, you can find me feeding my soul a little positivity. And, in order to accomplish that, I’ll continue with my “diet” for awhile longer. Stay safe and remember that no matter your beliefs, we really are all on the same team. The HUMAN team.