It was mid morning yesterday when I arrived at my Mom’s apartment and mid afternoon when we ambled out to the car to begin our errands. In the interim, we’d had toast and coffee, I’d tamed her bedhead hair with spray and mousse, and I’d done a quick alteration on her summer dress. Mom’s lost weight and many of clothes hang loosely on her thin shoulders now. Four hours is how long it takes to get up and out in Mom’s world. And that’s OK, because those hours are precious to me. It’s when we do our best chatting – I hear about her plans to get a passport - “You want a passport?!”, I remark, trying to sound casual. “Yep. I want to go to Kennebunk. By hook or by crook, I’m going to get there. Glenna’s going to help me.” Glenna is Mom’s favourite part-time paid helper and Kennebunk, Maine, is where Mom spent summers growing up. It is her soul place. “Oh, and did I tell you I’m getting a car?” she proudly announces, as her eyes twinkle. “The kind that drives itself. I read it in the paper. They’re not out yet, but they’re coming soon. I can’t wait.” "Awesome idea!" I nod.
These are the conversations I have with my Mom when we have a whole day to laze about and take our time getting ready to go out.
Later, at home, I called Nick. The sun had set and I hadn’t started dinner, but I wanted to know how my complicated son was feeling. Nicholas has a feeding tube and the skin around the tube is brewing a nasty staph infection. The oral antibiotic has being playing havoc with the anti-seizure drug he takes and I knew that Nick had been to the clinic for an emergency blood test to investigate his drug balance. “So Nick, did you make it to the clinic for your blood test?” I asked. “Yeah. Hahaha.” Nicholas’ helpers don’t interrupt our conversation to provide background info unless I ask them to. Nick has a few words that he uses to great advantage and we can always figure out what he wants to communicate, eventually. After a while, the story came out. He had been to the clinic and was placed in the queue behind a middle-eastern family of twelve. Apparently, Nick was highly entertained by the confusion and shouting that ensued when doctors’ orders, health cards and children’s names were mixed up. Nick thought the waiting room drama was hilarious!
It takes time to look after young children who refuse to hurry. It takes time to help my Mom get dressed and help her with banking or groceries. It takes time to understand Nicholas when he tells regales us with a funny story about something exciting that happened in his day.
It takes the time that it takes. For me, it’s precious time well spent.