Because I am a baby boomer in good standing, I like to do all the boomer things. I wear Dad Jeans, complain about today’s music and take care of an elderly parent.
OK, the last one is new. And temporary. But lately I have been playing host to my mother, aka Mom, age 84, as she recovers from a back injury, and it has been something of an adventure.
You need to know a couple of things about my mother. For starters, her bones have the structural integrity of a Styrofoam packing peanut. Because of this, she keeps breaking the ones in her back.
The first time was when she fell coming out of the chicken house up at the home place and broke two upper vertebrae. This latest go round is more of a mystery. She just woke up one day unable to walk correctly, and examination showed she had a broken vertebra in her lower back. She says she doesn’t know how it happened, but I have a suspicion she was moonlighting as a wrestler again.
The second thing you need to know about my mother is that she Doesn’t Want To Be A Burden, which as we all know is code for Wants To Be Back Home In Her Own House. I can’t blame her. After a few weeks we all want her to be back home in her … I mean, we all want to be in our own houses. But I also can’t approve because, for the moment, she can’t go up and down steps. The home place only has one bathroom, and it’s upstairs. You don’t have to be Einstein to figure out this one.
Actually, Mom has been a very good guest.
She eats what is placed before her and pretends to like it, although I did see her squinch up her eyes when she tasted my strawberry-rhubarb pie.
Mike: “How’s the pie, Mom?”
Mom: “Oh, it’s good.” (Squinch.) “It’s just” (squinch)
“a little more tart than I make it.” (Swallow, squinch.)
Of course, Mom has her share of old-lady quirks. She thinks her dog will do its business if she stands outside and says, not quietly, “Go potty, Pixie! Go potty!” No doubt the neighbors are wildly entertained by this.
And then there’s the red Solo cup. Not the one in the song. The one in Mom’s bag of pills and other essentials.
Mike: “Mom, why did you pack a Solo cup?”
Mom: “I need it.”
Mike: “For what? Mom, I have stacks of them. You didn’t need to bring your own.”
Mom: “Yes, I did, and just never you mind.”
I’ve heard that taking care of an aging parent is like minding a 3-year-old. The attachment to the Solo cup about had me convinced it was true — you know, like a child attaches to a favorite blanket. And then one night I came to find out why the cup was so important. I walked into the downstairs bathroom and saw her dentures floating in it.
Mom’s stay with me is temporary. She’s been fitted for a back brace; and after she gets it, she wants to go back to LaGrange County. I’m fine with that because I know she’ll be well taken care of … By my brother, P.D.
He’s a baby boomer, too. Got the jeans and everything.
Mike Redmond is an author, journalist, humorist and speaker. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.