Another shopping trip with Mom. New lessons learned every time.
She tries to control everything: the temperature in the car, the volume of my voice, the flow of my thoughts. She is stuck in her own mind by choice, or at 92 is there less and less mind and less and less choice? She looks like the mother I knew and loved, but that person doesn't exist anymore.
Maybe I could share one little experience or thought, I think and I try. She doesn't hear, doesn't want to hear it, criticizes it or me, in general, shuts the door. Bam.
Enter the new me: a shell of myself to pretend having a conversation with the shell of herself. How far are we going? 7 miles of awkwardess seems like an eternity.
At her apartment she forgot the keys somewhere. I use the pair I made for this purpose. It's happening more frequently. Certain things like how we open the car door and bring up the groceries are repeated every time. No lessons are learned from the last time for either of us.
How do I like the portrait she did of her best friend? I think it is as frozen and forced and unreal as we are now. "It's nice." is all I can choke up. I offer a few questions about it but she interrupts and has her own story about why it is the way it is and she is going on to the next portrait anyway. Can't talk about art anymore.
I give her a hug, but there is no response, recognition, or anything warm that is returned. Was mine that cold?
I walk away broken hearted. I bawl as soon as I get in the door.
I go to the bathroom and catch myself in the mirror. I dressed nicely for her. Did she notice? I talk to the mirror:
"Say, I like your hair these days. It was a great idea to grow it longer. And your outfit looks great. Thanks for dressing up for me. Your health does seem to be improving. You are brave to try out diets and improve yourself. Sorry to hear you are struggling with your business. But with your talents and persistence it will turn out alright. I am so proud of you
What a lovely and intelligent daughter I have!"
No. That only makes this worse. There goes the mascara. As the black streaks down my face I wonder, is she feeling this sad too? Or is that gone as well?