I missed Mother's Day this year due to my studies but I promised my Mom that I would have a late celebration with her once my exams were over. It was a gorgeous spring day and like the early spring plants, I was slowly emerging from being buried. Instead of dirt and rich leaf compost, I was buried in calculations, molecules, entropy, enthalpy, equilibrium, conversions....YUCK! I could hardly wait to live again! I decided to take Mom on a much needed outing to Longwood Gardens. Dad needed a break, Mom needed an outing and I needed to celebrate!
I had already packed our picnic and reminisced about how I used to prepare the same exact things that I used to pack for my kids when they were little: egg salad sandwich cut in 4 rectangular strips for easy handling, juice boxes, grapes and gold fish (and a hidden piece of dark chocolate to satisfy my serious chocolate problem). It really was a glorious spring day. The kind of day that makes you stop and want to take a mental snap shot; robin's egg blue sky, trees bursting with blooms, and green, green grass. I remember as a kid on early spring days like this that I would wonder off by myself into the woods behind our house and scour the area for new growth. Mom was usually out in her garden methodically cleaning out her beds for the coming warm weather sprouts and I was off trying to find the Virginia Bluebells and wild daffodils that were blooming. It was the first true sign of spring for me. Anyway, I knew this day was destined to be a good day.
Mom was already dressed, fed and anxiously awaiting my coming. Luckily I had some one to help me put her in the car (see Transferring Mom to get an idea of how incredibly difficult it is to load her in a car) so we were off in no time. I was able to get her unloaded by myself since gravity was in my favor and we were soon strolling the breathtaking grounds. She was in heaven and so was I. As we strolled, I talked to her sharing my growing horticultural knowledge and she smiled and listened. We touched and sniffed and wondered at the beauty around us. It was so nice but I could tell that she was fading fast and we hadn't eaten lunch yet. For once, my annoyingly voracious need-to-eat-now problem had not reared its head so I had actually lost track of time. Before eating I realized that I needed to take her to the restroom. She was such a good sport as I yanked and hoisted to no avail. It was useless. I just could not do it by myself anymore. I said that I was sorry and she said that it was okay (thank heavens for Depends). We ate in silence as we observed the plants around us. Feeding Mom is usually not a pleasant job but for some reason today she was not coughing and spewing. For a moment my thoughts flashed back to when Mom used to eavesdrop and people watch. It was painful to be with her when she decided to do this. The first thing she would do was to get a funny look on her face. A look that I recognized immediately as her don't-talk-to-me-now-look-because-I'm-eavesdropping-and-people-watching look. Then she would fumble around for her "dark glasses." This was her word for sunglasses but I think she called them dark glasses because she secretly believed they made her invisible or something thus allowing her to unabashedly invade people's space. She would put them on and then turn her head to glare directly at her victims. To make matters worse she would purse her lips and then blatantly continue to glare all being hidden behind her dark glasses. As soon as we would try to snap her out of this embarrassing habit, she would say "Wait a minute, wait a minute I'm listening!"
We finished our lunches and the hidden chocolates and continued to view the gardens as we made our way back to the car. I knew that I was going to need help loading her in the van and fortunately two nice security guards were already anticipating my need. I am obviously easily amused at most anything so naturally I enjoyed myself immensely as I watched these strange men huff, puff and grope my Mom! It really was hysterical and they were such good sports. I took every opportunity to razz them while wiping their brows. It was funny but there was no way I could have done it by myself.
The ever present realities of my mother's aging and deteriorating condition always have a way of working themselves into any picture. For me the reality of not being able to take her on an outing by myself was quite devastating to say the least. I hate it in fact but I am glad to have been able to take her on this last solo outing. It was a nice belated Mother's Day celebration for the both of us. I love you Mom.