We moved my now 91 year-old mother here to Texas from California about a year after my dad passed away.
My older brother moved to Colorado from California around the same time.
Consequently, my husband and I have been the overseers of my mother’s general welfare for the last 11 years. Now that she doesn’t drive anymore (thank you, lord) I take her grocery shopping and to her doctor’s appointments.
I keep track of all of her bills so she doesn’t get behind in payments for crucial things like her health insurance and property taxes, both of which came periously close to disaster awhile back when she forgot the statements were languishing in her desk drawer.
I pick up her prescriptions for her and either my husband or I fill her little pill boxes every week so she gets the right dosages of medication at the right time. All she has to do is take them every morning.
In short, I do everything that a dutiful daughter is supposed to do for her aged mother while my brother enjoys a relatively carefree life in Colorado with no responsibilities to speak of apart from his dog and his third wife.
So this morning, the day after shlepping my mother to the grocery store while trying to ignore her unfounded complaints about the nice young couple across the street, she calls me to tell me a cute story my brother told her when he phoned today to see how she was doing in our unusually frigid weather.
Normally he calls her about every three weeks. The two of them have never gotten on very well and I know he’s quite happy having some physical distance between them.
What I’ve discovered is the one who is farthest away becomes saintly in my mother’s eyes, and the one here closest to her becomes the target.
After telling me my brother’s story, she then asked me what I did with her grocery list from yesterday. I told her I threw it away because she’d been leaving the old lists in her purse, which meant we went through most of one previous shopping trip working off of a list that was no longer relevant.
Of course, I had to be wrong about that because she didn’t remember it. She said she wanted to go over the list from yesterday to see if there was anything we forgot. I said that the time to do that was while you’re still in the store, not a day later.
And besides, we did go over the list before we left and I had asked her about an item we hadn’t gotten. She had said she didn’t really want it that much anyway. So this whole list thing was moot, in my view.
But did it stop there? Ho, no, my friends. “List-gate” went on for several more minutes, allowing my mother to get quite angry with me—which was her purpose in the first place. If you can’t goad your adult children into an argument once in awhile and raise their blood pressure, what’s the point of having kids?
Is it too late for me to move to Colorado?