Two weeks ago my mom agreed to move into an assisted living community. She put down a deposit on a “friendship suite,” which she will share with a lady named Margie. She’ll have her own bedroom but will share the living room, kitchen and bathroom. It’s not an ideal situation, but it’s all that was available on short notice. They’ve put her at the top of the waiting list for a one bedroom apartment of her own, but there’s no telling how long it might be before one comes available. Mom has been enthusiastic about moving into a community with so much going on, where she’ll be around people and won’t have to be alone so much. Every time we’ve talked about it, even over the phone I could tell her pale blue eyes were sparkling.
Today the dear family friend who has been checking on her daily, reminding her to take her medications and driving her to her appointments warned me that she’s been getting some “push back” from Mom on this plan. The last few days Mom has been telling her that she doesn’t want to move into the friendship suite; she wants to just stay where she is until a one bedroom becomes available. Knowing this, it was with some trepidation that I picked up the phone to call my mom tonight.
She was so pleased to hear that I’ll be there on Thursday evening; she couldn’t remember the day and thought I wasn’t coming until Friday or Saturday. We talked about what’s going on this week. About ten minutes into our conversation, she told me there’s something she wants me to pray about. “I’ve been thinking,” she said. “Why am I moving now and putting my things in storage? Why don’t I just wait until there’s a single apartment available and move all at once?” She sounded genuinely perplexed, as if she knew there’d been a good reason for the decision to move now but couldn’t recall what it was.
I took a deep breath. “Well, here’s the way I’ve been thinking about it. I want you to move sooner rather than later because I would feel so much better knowing that if anything happened to you – if you fell or got sick or something – there are people right there who can take care of you. You’re alone too much where you are now and I worry about that.”
“Oh, okay,” she said. Her tone was one of absolute acceptance.
I proceeded with the argument I’d planned all afternoon, about how once she’s in the community she can be certain of actually being at the top of the list and getting the next available one bedroom… but it didn’t seem to matter, really. She’d accepted my first answer – “because I worry about you” – and that was good enough. The same way I’d accepted without question when, as a child, I asked her if Santa Claus was real and she assured me that he was.
We talked a bit more about logistics and I reassured her that I can handle everything, that these things that seem overwhelming to her (renting a storage unit, selling some of her furniture, hiring movers) are things I’ve done lots of times. “We’ll take care of that when I get out there.”
“When are you coming?” she asked. “Is it Thursday?”
Yes, Mom. I’ll be there Thursday evening. She told me how much she’s looking forward to seeing me and we signed off with I love yous.
Our family friend commented today on how much Mom trusts me with important decisions and arrangements. That’s kind-of scary, if you ask me. I don’t know when this happened, when she went from being the overprotective mama who couldn’t trust me to handle my own life to trusting me with hers. Was it really that long ago that we were arguing about my bad relationship choices and why I didn’t go to church? A lifetime ago, I guess it was. We were both different people then.