It is another "gambling" Quaker Sunday and I find myself back at The Barclay visiting with Mom and Dad. It pains me that I can not get here that often due to my heavy course load at school, but I am happy to be here now and grateful that my husband can pull up a chair and gamble away with the men while I visit with Mom. I have missed her so much. In fact, I have missed her for the past 15 years that she has been hidden away behind a glassy, distant expression that has taken over her being. My mother was always so expressive in everything that she did: her face, her movements, her words, her laugh, and even her gardening. I miss my connection with her. A connection that grew from the moment I was a teen. I actually liked my Mom when I was a teenager. She was fun and she was a good listener. She always had the right words for me and I relied on her so much in those painful adolescent years. She was the one true friend for me. She was someone I could always count on, someone who was grounded and unconditional with her time and love.
I hold her hand and kiss her gently. She looks so pretty today with her snow white hair and her sparkly blue eyes. I am thankful that she knows me. She may not be able to name me right away but I know she knows me because in a flash her distant stare focuses on me and she gets a look of complete and utter bliss. She does this with all of her children when we come to visit her and I am eternally grateful that this has not been taken from us.....yet. This is all I need to satisfy me. No, that is not true. I am selfish and need her to be her again. I am momentarily shaken out of my self pity when there is a commotion in front of me. The boys (the gamblers) are in a frenzy. Dad has just gotten up to go search for some ice and drinks for our lunch while Scott and Phil (Dad's best Barclay buddy)are frantically trying to rig the cards for the next game. This is hysterical to watch because Phil, who suffers from early stages of Alzheimer's, can not seem to remember exactly which game of poker they are rigging. Scott is hurriedly trying to sort the cards and seems to be throwing them everywhere while saying, "It's Night Baseball, Phil." Phil responds by saying, "Oh yes!" and then he whips out his little pad that he keeps in his shirt pocket and writes this down. He is forever doing this in order to remember the goings on in his life but most of the time when he reads it back, he can't remember it anyway! Dad is back and the rigged game is on!
I turn my attention towards Mom again (or is it really towards me and my inner thoughts?) and try another tactic: conversation. Both of my parents have the gift of conversation. They could (Dad still does) engage anyone and everyone in an interesting conversation. Words flow from our mouths, a true Barnett trait. My words are flowing easily as I fill her in on the kids and my life. She used to eat this up but now it seems to fall on deaf and distant ears. How cruel this is. I stop my selfish babble and swallow hard. For now I will settle on holding her hand and sitting quietly while watching the boys play their game.
I miss you Mom. Come back to me.