Want to feel like a kid again?
Here’s a pro tip from me to you: Spending more time with your parents will make you feel older, not younger.
My mother is recovering from knee replacement surgery, so I took a few days to help her out – shopping, getting meals, cleaning, keeping her company, that kind of thing.
Definitely a job for the distaff side!
Each day began by observing the neighborhood squirrels at the feeder.
My parents don’t like to keep a lot of food in the house for some reason. They prefer to go to the grocery store every day. Here’s a typical haul – some Boursin-stuffed chicken breasts and other fixings for dinner, blueberries to make muffins for breakfast the next day, and – via last-minute text request – a giant bag of Cheetos.
I found myself eating dinner at 5 p.m. My mother was very taken with my “recipe” for green beans:
- Buy a bag of pre-trimmed green beans
- Steam in the microwave for 4-5 minutes
- Toss with salt, pepper, olive oil and juice from half a lemon
Although she told me that I shouldn’t cook with any salt from then on. There’s absolutely no real health reason for the fatwa on salt – my mother just thinks it’s unhealthy.
After dinner, we had a rousing game of Scrabble while a John Wayne movie played on TV.
I thought I would make use of the time by working on some sewing projects. One day I combined a trip to the fish market with a shopping trip for sewing supplies.
“You were gone a while,” my mother said when I returned.
“Sorry – did you need me?” I said.
“No, I just wondered where you went.”
I was gone maybe 90 minutes. Gee, why don’t I feel like I am 16 again?
It was fun to set up my machine on my grandmother’s old sewing table.
The dining room has plenty of space for this, but it was a disruption in the flow of things. My parents’ cats gave me dirty looks. My dad kept reminding me to unplug the iron. I didn’t get much done and had to drop out of the Refashion Runway competition. I couldn’t find much to refashion anyway – the theme was “fake fur” and people need that stuff at this time of year. Oh well.
My parents live in New Hampshire, so I took off for about an hour one day to hear Bernie Sanders speak:
That same day someone from Sanders’ campaign came to the door and my father had fun telling the guy off: “Everyone who likes your guy is already downtown listening to him speak!”
On Sunday I had a rare treat. My parents still get a newspaper delivered daily. On Sundays, the paper includes full-color comics.
Bonus: a guy I went to high school with has a son who’s old enough to get married. The wedding announcement was in the paper.
After three days of this I started looking forward to my 5 p.m. dinner, some Cheetos in front of the TV, and the squirrel show every morning. One day a scandal erupted when some pigeons ate the squirrels’ corn.
Every day I tackled a cleaning project. “Everything’s gone downhill since your mother’s been laid up,” my dad said after I spent 2 hours on the bathroom.
I told him that he needed to help out more. Distaff side, my ass.
I left them after four days with a freezer full of spaghetti sauce, chicken, soup and muffins. My sister also has also been helping out with meals, cleaning, doctor’s appointments and the rest. We have a good laugh about it all.
I know that taking care of parents is something we all have to do sooner or later. I am grateful that I have the kind of relationship with them that they I can help them – for sure they helped me for many years! This was a relatively minor event – my mother will recover and go on with her life. The day will come when it’s not such an easy job. I am glad I had the chance to prepare for it a bit.
But I left the visit feeling old and feeble. My knee makes a crunching sound when I walk. That can’t be good. I have my mother’s thighs – I guess I have her knees, too.