Wednesday 5 July 2017

An Adventure With My Mom and a Surprise Ending

Last week I decided to keep a promise I'd made to my Mom - I would take her out for dinner and spend a night away with her in a really nice hotel.

My mother is like Thelma or Louise trapped in a frail, 95 year old body. Despite the extraordinary kindness of her assisted living staff, she often feels frustrated by her confines. Lately, the rainy weather has increased her feeling of being caged in. I thought a one night 'holiday' would do us both good as our son had undergone surgery a week earlier to replace an aging spinal cord pain pump. He was doing well and was almost back to normal, so I felt confident to go see my Mom.

I knew that if I told Mom beforehand that our plan was to have a mini-holiday, she would worry about whether her hair and her wardrobe were just right. And those uncertainties would lead to a cancellation along with apologies. So I secretly packed a bag for her, put it into the trunk of the car and asked if she'd like to go shoe shopping. She would! Off we went to the nearest mall where we both found sandals we liked. Mother-daughter shopping made us thirsty so I suggested that we go a lovely waterside hotel nearby for a drink. We sat outside by the lake sipping our cocktails and chatting about good times past.

We decided to have dinner in the hotel restaurant - it was pricey, but we were on a roll! Capuccino for dessert and then I popped the question - did Mom want to stay over for just one night? It would be fun and we could have a leisurely breakfast (Mom's favourite meal of the day) and then I'd take her back to her assisted living residence. We agreed it was a great plan and we went up to our room overlooking the lake and garden.

We read, chatted and eventually put our heads down for the night. At 12:30 am, the phone rang. At first I was disoriented and couldn't find the source of ringing. A couple of minutes later, it rang again and I managed to pick up an extension in the bathroom. It was Jim, my husband. Our son Nick was on his way to the ER with an infection in his surgical site. We agreed that I would stay the night with Mom and that my sister would come for Mom very early the next morning. Our plan worked and I managed to arrive at Nick's hospital bedside first thing the next morning (my Mom lives about a 2 hour drive away from our home city, so I got a very early start).

The next day, Nicholas had another emergency surgery and now he's recovering on antibiotics. These days I'm spending most of my time with him. But I will always treasure the memory of a (mostly) lovely mini-holiday with my Mom. Lesson learned: make everything seem unplanned, like a spontaneous decision and be prepared for anything to happen.

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