My mother turned eighty-seven today. Like most folks her age she has some medical issues she has to deal with on a daily basis. But for all that, she's still truckin'. Not literally--despite the picture above taken last summer. A friend offered to take her for a ride in the friend's pickup--and with a bit of help Mom got up into the cab and took off. But most of the time she gets driven around in her tiny Toyota Yaris.
Which, of course, is the point. She may not drive anymore--hasn't for three or four years--but she still gets around. She goes to Bible study on Tuesdays, takes communion at the neighboring Episcopalian church every Wednesday (we Congregationalists don't serve it often enough for her!), and then attends a class I teach most weeks. Thursday she rests--but the Friday we pay her bills and then I take her to the bank and out to lunch at Marco's--a wonderful little family run diner near us. She always orders two eggs over easy, a pancake and coffee. Mom told me she's love to have a mug from Marco's for Christmas. So when I was there a couple of weeks back with my sister, I asked "Mama" Marco if I could buy a mug for my mother. "No, no," she said, as she reached under the counter, "You and your Mom are in here all the time. These are on the house. Merry Christmas!"
Today I took Mom to the bank to do some year-end banking, a bit more complicated than the usual check cashing on Friday's. I had to explain things a couple of times before Mom got it. mild Alzheimer's will do that to a person. The teller, who we've dealt with many times, looked at me and said, "You know, we all really appreciate how patient you are with her. It means a lot."
"He is patient," said my mother, "I think we'll keep him."
I quietly thanked the teller for her kind words, and patted my mother on the back.
Later as I got to thinking about it though, I remembered the many years Mom had to be patient with me. Years in infancy and toddlerhood that I don't even remember, when I am sure I kept her awake many nights. Years in grammar school when I didn't finish my supper or do my homework or finish my chores. Years in high school when--well, let's just leave it at that. All those years of patience that helped shape me into the man I've become. How can I be anything but patient with her now?
Happy birthday, Mom. May you keep on truckin'!