Sunday, July 6, 2008

I Love My Mother, but...

I'm beginning to wonder about her sanity. How many fans, crockpots, and coffee pots does an eighty-three year-old woman who lives alone need? I feel reasonably safe discussing her on my blog because she isn't computer-oriented in the least. We can't even get her to use an ATM card. She still has to visit the bank personally and withdraw her cash, and I'm sure the tellers all know her by name and groan when she comes in...weekly. Before she treks to Walmart and Big Lots to check out the weekly specials.

Mom has been hard of hearing for quite a while, but refuses to wear the aids she has. Any one of several pair prescribed for her. It puzzles me why a person who can't decipher what people are saying won't do something to enhance sound. It's embarrassing to go out to eat with Mom and have her guess the answer to the questions the waitress asks. "Would you like cream with your Coffee?" And Mom replies: "No, I want them over easy." I just shake my head to give the gal a hint that mom takes her coffee black, then roll my eyes.

Before we moved her to the new house in Show Low, my sister, Gwenn tastefully decorated it. She followed a theme in every room, and kept it uncluttered and fashionable. It looks nothing like that now. Besides the ongoing purchases of luggage (and she never travels), electric skillets, and blankets (we could warm the entire Navajo tribe), Mom mails in orders to a place where knick-knack junkies get their fix. The UPS truck has left permanent indentions in the driveway, and Mom's packages have been listed on bad-back disability claims for their employees. Every time I see their commercial, advising "Go Brown", I groan. That's the color of the sun room where she collects all the cardboard boxes. For what purpose, we haven't determined yet.

This is a trend with her. Years back when we moved her from Arizona to California, every closet we opened had some new appliance still in a box. Most were coffee pots and fans. My uncle remarked we could invite all of Phoenix in for a cup and cool them while they drank. Each family member who helped that day was rewarded with a new appliance of their choice and any one of the boxes of canned vegetables we found under her bed. She still buys groceries like all four kids still live at home. I wouldn't mind if I didn't live two thousand miles away and could ease the load once in a while like I did when I lived closer. Our pantry is empty except for the twelve cans of tamales I brought home last time. Matter of fact, I'm making a note to toss them. I'm sure they have an expiration date.

My siblings and I have often discussed that Mom might well outlive us. Shopping is like adrenaline to her and she's always got a rush of it. In case we survive her, we've all agreed in fairness, we'll flip a coin to see who holds the garage sale. I insist that my sister Glynda get the bird and's only fair since they were gifts from her. My sister Gwenn should get all the knicknacks, including the glowing pink flamingos, my sister-in-law Karan should get back all those giant stuffed Christmas decorations she's added to Mom's collection, and her husband, my brother Butch, should get all the rest of Mom's holiday stuff. I know how much he loves those big plastic reindeer, Santa and his sleigh, and the snowman. I'm sure if he takes all the Christmas lights, including the ninety boxes that have never been opened, he can light up his whole street. He can also have any of the twelve ice chests, fourteen sets of luggage, and blankets and sheets for all the beds in his house. Everyone can have a wallet, twelve rolls of scotch tape, forty-eight batteries,a bottle of ketchup, a case of Coke, and a rump roast. And there are plenty of boxes to carry everything away in.

I do, however, want the collection of Ceramic Indians back that mom gave me. In case I ever have a house of my own again, I have a theme in mind. I'm sure that's okay with everyone else, because no one liked them but Mom and me in the first place. Oh, and I forgot...we should probably appoint someone to take the second slew of Mom's ceramic Dolls and stuffed animals to the Indian Children's School like we did with the last ones.

I'm poking jest at my Mom, but I'm doing it with love. I can't imagine the day will come when she's not in my life. We all have our idiosyncrasies and shopping is hers. It's her money, her time and her life, and if she spends every penny before she leaves this world, that's fine with me. If love can be measured like money, then she's made me far wealthier than I ever expected to be. I may be one of four, but I know I'm her favorite. I've never asked her, she just shows me.


Anita Davison said...

Ginger, I so empathise with this as I have an elderly father who has idiocyrasies of his own. Fortunately he wants nothing to do with material possessions - he lives out of a suitacase between my sister's house and mine - when he gets fed up with one he goes to the other. You need humour and love to deal with the 'guess what I asked you Dad' because, basically, he isn't my Dad any more. But I remember what he used to be like and I stil love him for that - but coping with a 6 foot toddler is a tough emotional challenge.

Molly Daniels said...

Parents...gotta love 'em:) We had the same issues with my MIL when we took over the house. I had to toss six trash bags full of expired canned goods! And she was a jewelry junkie...her QVC card bill was $900. We paid it off and cut it up!

When my great-grandmother passed in '98, we found her stash of tinfoil, pie pans, and butter bowls.

My mom keeps getting rid of the wrong things: She has all these knick-knacks in closets, but threw away my ratty Donna Parker mysteries (I loved those books!). My sis and I both pleaded with her not to throw anything else out until we were consulted first!

Mirella Patzer said...

Good morning, Miss Ginger. (Calgary Stampede is on so I'm in my western mode). Congratulations, you and your reader, Jannine Corti Peska have just won copies of Bloodstone Castle. I'll contact Jannine directly and let her know. Can you send me your mailing address? I'll a copy in the mail to you this week along with a real bloodstone. Please email it to

Thanks so much for hosting me. I'll be starting Embezzled Love in a few days.

Estella said...

You are so lucky to still have your mother!

Gwenn Devereaux said...

Adam and I just got back from Wal-Mart after doing grocery shopping and guess who we ran into there? MOM...with a full cart of food and assorted knick-knacks. More picture frames, 2 more watches and 4 bags of shredded cheese. For someone who claims to hate cheese, she sure stocks up on it. And by the are not Mom's favorite child, so get over yourself. In addition, the pink flamingos would look lovely out by Brett's frog pond along with the new neon blue and green peacock standing in the planter by the street. We found that when we came home from Mexico yesterday. I still say we are tagged as being the only hobo-gypsey camp in town. Gotta love her but at times I just want to scream COME ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Carol said...

But I get the same flack from my kids about the number of book I read and the number I buy. "You haven't read the ones you have, why are you buying more?"
"Because, I will read them later. And when I'm too old to buy a bunch, I will already have a library of my own and won't have to even use the public one.

Greg said...

I am a New York Times bestselling author working on a new book about mother-daughter relationships and thought you might want to contribute. Please visit my blog for information about being interviewed for “Mom's Little Angel.”

Gregory E. Lang
Author of “Daddy’s Little Girl,” “Why a Daughter Needs a Dad,” “Why a Daughter Needs a Mom” and more.

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