This is number 1 in the “Relationship Blog Series” and each will consist of various relationships mom has formed over the years.
In 90 years of ones life a lot will happen, a lot of places will be seen, a lot of people will be met, relationships formed, memories will be made.
People will touch each of our lives quite differently.
Research has shown that there is true life expectancy value in our relationships.
It is hard to describe moms cognitive state. How does her brain decide what stays and what goes? Does she have any idea how much she doesn’t remember? Is what she remembers associated with an event? Does she remember what she has been through? What does she remember about each relationship she has made over the years?
I think of the relationships that she has had with so many others over the years and wonder how each of them influenced who she is. Probably early year, I would guess.
Mom was my first female role model and she had quite and impact on me. She was strong and energetic. She was relatively even tempered and happy. Loyal and loving to her family and friends. Her attitude, its just crazy, when the chips were down (and that’s an understatement) she picked up the chips and stepped forward. One step at a time, but she did it. Mom is either modest or naive because she is so unaware of her inner strength. She was caring and kind; she never (ok, rarely) had a bad word to say about anybody. Fun, funny and often times quite witty, she always enjoyed a good laugh. Her glass was usually half full.
We lived together the first 17 years of my life. As I matured, and my relationship with Mom evolved, we were not only mother and daughter but also “friends” and eventually “best friends “. I know a lot of mothers and daughters develop this kind of amazing friendship, and I hope it is as strong as ours. Living together for the past 32 years has allowed us to strengthen and create this amazing bond, I’ll call “best friends”.
You know what though, I really need to describe the relationship, “best friends” with a few words and examples;
- its unconditional; nothing that either of you will do could possibly change how one feels about the other. Is it because we are mother and daughter or is it that we have been part of each other’s lives for all of my life (61 years)?
- you have a trusted confidant; the ability to confide in another individual with the reassurance there is no judgement. My confidant, will still listen and she will show her concern with an expression or a knowing nod, (even when she doesn’t understand) but she no longer gives an opinion and I crave it.
- ongoing respect/admiration/trust; thinking so much of each other for what they have achieved because of who they are. Our respect/admiration for each other is mutual, even now as she struggles to maintain her dignity while her mind and body try to let her down, I have to admire how she is handling aging and old age. She trusts me completely and I know that. I want others to know and admire her for who she has been and respect who she is.
- supportive; emotionally, financially, physically, whatever the other needs, always. The support that mom needs these days goes far beyond what I had imagined she may need. (emotionally) I see her looking at me and I smile at her, I think she needs assurance that all is good. I always kiss her goodbye and goodnight, letting her know I am here. (physically) I will hold her hand as she walks and pick her up when she falls, I’ll hook her bra, comb her hair, put her socks on her feet, cut her toenails and change the battery in her hearing aid. (financially) She is now my dependent, financially and more.
- fun loving; sharing time and enjoying the company doing what you enjoy. (Ex.staying up late to play Nintendo , getting peanut buster parfaits after the kids go to bed, spontaneously going to visit Paul and Bernie) We are still having fun and taking our adventures as circumstances will allow. Sadly though I seldom see that look on her face or the sparkle in her eye that was there when she was having fun.
- sharing; thoughts, emotions, tangible things, experiences, time. We have shared everything. She seldom shares her deep thoughts with me now, but we share quiet snip-its of conversation and lots of time sitting together, sometimes we walk out back. We share a touch, holding hands, a ride in the car and a look. We can still share many experiences, it is just on a completely different level these days. Sharing has a different value to me now, and time has become the most important part of our sharing. It just doesn’t matter what we do.
- giggle buddy; sharing a similar sense of humor, that you can giggle about the same silly things, giggle till you cry, and as mom would say “tinkle a little” kind of giggle. Although it is not as frequent as it once was, I still find that on a rare occasion I have my giggle buddy.
Don’t think for one minute everything was always rosy, I mean we can not exclude the fact that we also have had many differences and disagreements. That is all part of a relationship. Also, did I mention we are both a little stubborn. Even through our differences our friendship never wavered.
Everyday I miss moms participation in the relationship that we have developed and grown accustomed to over the years . This change in our relationship has been emotionally punishing.
I just wish I knew if she misses the same things that I do (how can she miss something if she can’t remember, but does she remember, is it in there somewhere?) There are moments when we look at each other – and for a second it is a familiar, however brief, look – but my heart catches for a minute, wishing it would last longer, but then it’s gone.
Katie and I took mom to have our nails done. (this is an adventure/an experience for us) It was a nice pampering, and it was different, we don’t always pamper ourselves and rarely get manicures. It was an afternoon event really. (it was another thing we could share, with little physical effort on her part, she poops our quickly) We even stopped for lunch, (soup at Panera).
When we arrived home (about dinner time, mom eats by the clock) Bob asked to see our nails and we both modeled our newly manicured hands for him .
” nice, very nice and did you ladies have a good time?”
without missing a beat, and in her old witty way….
” oh yes, we did, but I thought you’d have dinner on the table by now?”
the comment took us all by surprise and we burst into laughter ( my giggle buddy).
In my mind I said “there she is, that was her,” for that moment, she had returned. I wanted to cry along with the laughing. I miss her sense of humor.
It was fun, even if it was just for the moment. That was three weeks ago.
“I can’t believe how long this manicure is lasting”
“I know , huh, your nails still look great mom”
Sometimes she seems to be so aware , alert and participatory for a couple of minutes, hours and even once in a while a few days. Then for whatever reason she retreats once again. The times between the old mom returning is becoming shorter lived and further apart,
So where does our relationship go from here? Does our relationship have the same value to her now (since she doesn’t remember everything) as it once did?
For me, there is more value to our relationship now than there ever was. It really has become about the moments.
This is it, full circle, with my best friend.
2 thoughts on “The Value of Relationships (1)”
Excellent Deb, another great job, thank you so much for sharing. This is a wonderfully presented account of your experience.
That was me, Bruce