Friday, January 21, 2011

The Strange Change - A Mother Story

My mom went out last night with a friend.  Now you might be thinking, "Well isn't that nice."  Just let me say that her going out started an evening of head spinning emotions for my sister, my husband and I.
I'll begin by telling you a bit about my mom so you can understand the situation fully.  Mom is 84 years old and lives by herself in a tiny little town in New Mexico.  She drives to another town about 40 minutes away every Thursday to get her hair done and do her weekly shopping.  This has been her routine for many years.  Mom learned to drive as an adult and while not the greatest driver in the world she is a cautious driver and does very well, umm unless you count when she drove into the cement blockade in front of her local Town and Country one morning.  That's another story.

Mom gets up every morning around 4 AM and starts her daily routine of cleaning or working in her yard, maybe cooking or baking something for an ailing friend, and then going to the Senior Center to eat lunch with her friends.  In the afternoon she may go play games with her friends, take someone to the doctor or just piddle around her house and then catch the evening news.  She is usually ready for bed by 7 PM at the latest and always falls asleep watching one of her shows on TV.

On Thursdays I generally call her in the late afternoon or evening to see how her trip to the beauty shop went.  Now I do realize they are called "salons" nowadays but to Mom it is and always will be the "beauty shop".  Last night I went to my granddaughter's soccer game so I didn't call until around 7:30 PM to check in with her.  No answer.  Thinking she might be in the bath I wait 30 minutes and call again.  Still no answer so I leave a message stating that I'm wondering where she is and to call me when she gets in.  I hang up and call her cell phone which I have finally convinced her to leave on when she is away from the house.  I don't even bother to leave a message there because although I have showed her numerous times how to retrieve the messages, she still can't seem to do it.  I'm mildly worried at this point but not alarmed.  I call both phones every 30 minutes for the next 3 hours.  Around 9 PM I texted my sister to see if she spoke with her and knew something I didn't concerning her whereabouts.  She doesn't.  Now we are both worrying and I've involved my husband also who is a bit upset with her for making us all worry.   By 10:15 PM my sister and I are frantically searching for phone numbers of friends and neighbors.  She was on the internet and I was digging through drawers.  Finally she decides to get in the car and drive to New Mexico.  I'm still digging and my husband continues the internet search with any name  I can think of.  At last we locate a number and I phone her friend.   She of course hasn't spoke with her all day and knowing how my mom loves to go to bed early and hates the cold, she says she will make some calls and head over to her house and call me back.  I call my sister and tell her to wait a few minutes before she leaves town.   The friend calls back in 5 minutes and has located her.  Seems she and her neighbor are at the Senior Center listening to a country western band.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME??????  My mom is out on the town and has missed her curfew that I have self appointed her and she has not even had the courtesy to call me and ask my permission to be out late.
Furthermore, why did she not have that cell phone we bought her handy?  She should have at least let me know she made it home from the beauty shop.  Here I am pacing the floors thinking she could be lying in a ditch or unconscious somewhere and she's out partying with her friends.  Boy is she in trouble when she gets home!

Whoa there Donna.  Take a deep breath and relax.  She is OK.  Did she not offer you grace on a few occasions when you wrecked your car, came in a bit late, forgot to call and tell her you were going to a friends after school?

The phone rings a little before 11 PM and a timid little voice starts making all the excuses she can think of.  She feels bad for worrying us and I agree that the loud music probably made it impossible to hear her phone that was stuffed inside her purse.  "No Mother, it's not broken it works fine you just didn't hear it."
I listen patiently as she tells me how her friend begged her to get dressed and go with her.  (Yeah that's a good one I've used before.)   Oh and the ever classic, "I was with her and didn't have a way home.  I told her I wanted to leave an hour ago."  (Whatever!)

My daughter Crystal with her Nannie Retta
Wait a minute.  At what point in my life did I stop being the child and become the parent of my mom.  Was all that child raising just practice for this time of life.  Watching your parents age is a difficult thing.    I'm sure it is strange for my mom to watch me begin to age also.  She is convinced that I have more wrinkles than her and that she is healthier than I ever thought about being.  She could be right on both counts.  I'm blessed to still have her in my life and if she worries me sometime then I will count that a blessing too.  I didn't have the heart to scold her when it came down to it last night but I'm thinking she won't be doing that again.  I could be wrong.  I seem to remember thinking my daughters wouldn't do stuff again either.  LORD give me courage!!!


  1. LOVED IT!!! Made me SMILE! Nannie has ALWAYS liked to have FUN!

  2. Just a 1-alarm alert. If it had been a 2-alarm alert then the sons of the said mom would have been notified. Not to panic until such time as the "Smith Brothers" have to go on a "mission from God" once again.

  3. Good story! I can so relate!

  4. Great story! Makes you just wanna beat her to death like you threatened to do your kids when they pulled something like that. But by the time they were home and safe you were so glad to see them that you just let it go. I think at age 84, though, she does need a scolding from you eventually...she needs to check in or we'll think something happened to her!

  5. That is a cute story and heart stopping for you!! I know your worry, but relish the thought that she is able to have that quality of life! I think your Mom deserves a Tiara for sure!! Wow, lucky you Donna!! Payback is heck huh?


  6. Well, Gary gave her a bit of a scolding tonight so we'll see if it does any good. HA! She's a mess!

  7. Loved it mother has done the same thing to my sisters and I!!!

  8. I have to admit I used some of my Mother's own words when I said, "Mother! I am too old to be running all over the country side looking for my Mother at all hours of the night!" LOL!! Must say though, that was one trip to NM I was really dreading, expecting the worst, if you know what I mean. Mother, Mother or not, you are grounded until further notice!!!