“Once you hit 80, it’s all about changes,” said my mother on the phone to me just yesterday. She wasn’t talking about pleasant changes. While every age involves changes, Mama’s right. She and Daddy have seen a lot of changes in just a little time. Last week the doctor gave my daddy a cane and told him very sternly — “Use it! Falling could be the end of you!” He’s a proud man but he’s smart enough to heed her warning.
Mama worries about Daddy, Daddy worries about Mama and I’m just plain worried about them both!
I feel for my parents. I know sometimes they feel like they’re losing control over so many areas of their lives. They’ve always been able to do almost anything that needs getting done. Now they are worrying about how long Daddy will be able to continue driving. Mama who once could hear a pin drop a mile away now needs a hearing aid. Many days Daddy’s legs are weak and he doesn’t get around well. It just seems the changes are coming faster than any of us can cope with them. Yet, cope we must.
More Downs Than Ups
My parents are probably a lot like yours. They love working around their place and take joy in being useful. Now that Daddy’s having trouble with his legs, he can’t do what he used to. He has trouble just driving to church on some days while other days he’s out on the riding lawn mower enjoying the experience. It’s only when he’s down for a number of days that I really worry. When Daddy can’t do, Daddy gets depressed. When Daddy gets depressed, Mama has to do everything.
“I hate to tell you this, Karen, but your daddy is spoiled,” said Mama.
“Really?” I answered back. “Now who might have spoiled him?”
It is true. Daddy is spoiled and when he is down, he’s a whole lotta trouble.
That’s when I know Daddy needs a pep talk. I just encourage him to get out at least on the porch and get some sunshine. I remind him that he’s come through a lot of down days and lived to have better ones. I try to impress on my mother how imperative it is that she takes care of herself. After all, if she gets down it will be me waiting on my daddy!
Unfortunately, my mama’s favorite past time is working in the yard. Between digging in the garden and waiting on my Daddy hand and foot, she’s going to wear down. She promises to slow down. Of course she’s been promising that for years, decades even.
“But I have just one more project to finish and then I’ll take it easy,” she says. “Once I get the back yard reseeded, I’ll have to stay inside with your daddy.”
I’ve never know my mother NOT to have just one more project to finish.
Oh, well. They are who they are and I love them. I’ve assured my mama that when Daddy can’t drive I’ll take them to church and I’ll pick up the groceries. I can’t say that to Daddy. He won’t hear of me having to get groceries.
“That’s one thing I can still do, Angel,” he says. “I don’t want to give it up until I have to.”
That’s a fight for another day. I guess we’ll all just have to keep going the best we can. I’ll try to keep encouraging them and tell them everyone has a bad day now and then. I know worse ones are coming, but I’ll think about that tomorrow. Like Scarlett says, “Tomorrow is another day.”