I don't know how many posts I've started with…."I have my mom for the weekend," but I know there are many.
My mom, Luz, will be 96 next week. She is in good health. She doesn't suffer from any disease other than old age.
Her bones are healthy. She has a great appetite. She repeats herself occasionally (96!), but is completely lucid.
Sometimes she gets tired. And she gets demanding. And she gets unreasonable. And I find myself getting a bit of an attitude. (Like, I've never been tired and demanding and unreasonable!)
You know what I'm talking about. I (internally) roll my eyes and think, "Ay, Mami, por favor."
I confess that I get tired of catering to her needs. Yes. I'm that selfish. (I know. Shut up.)
And then I regroup and remember this: I do not want to have any regrets.
That's my mantra on the weekends when she stays with us and wants things done her way.
And believe me, her way can be pretty exacting.
For example, she likes the water in the shower to be body temperature. So I test it before helping her get in, with my elbow, just like I tested the bath water for my babies.
She needs three bath towels. Three. Heated in the dryer so that they are toasty. One for her hair, one for her shoulders, another for the rest of her.
She likes 3 hot meals. The table must be set with real dishes. No paper or plastic for her.
Coffee or tea cups must have matching saucers. No random mugs for her.
There's a long list of idiosyncratic must-haves. And I go out of my way (and comfort-zone) to provide them.
And sometimes, because of my own selfishness, I balk at her demands.
But I quickly re-group and remind myself, "She's 95 (almost 96!), show some compassion."
Then I repeat these words: No regrets.
That phrase generally knocks me off of my selfish-throne and allows me to be gracious.
Because she asks me to do other things that aren't on the radar of most other 95 (almost 96!) year olds.
So, without complaint, I do her hair and fix her makeup. And paint her nails.
When she asks for the bright red polish, I laugh and shake my head. "Ay Mami, por favor."
And I thank God that I get to do this.