I grew up with a storybook mother, not perfect, but close to it.
• Day long birthday celebrations started with mom delivering a breakfast muffin with a lit candle while singing happy birthday.
• Expressions of love including hugs and kisses were given in abundance.
• Sunday dinner was at the dining room table with china, crystal, linen tablecloth and napkins, and gentle etiquette lessons.
• Curiosity was encouraged and rewarded with both praise and tokens.
• When I was sick, she was the world’s most attentive nurse.
All my life, my friends expressed their desire to have her for a mother, a request she usually accommodated. She was my cheerleader, my confident, and my problem sounding board.
Now she is 94, residing in an assisted living facility, has Alzheimers, and I have cancer.
Visiting her means figuring out strategies to hide both my baldness and my diagnosis. Explaining what’s actually happening would require a complete explanation each visit – a task beyond my emotional strength. Answering her questions about my new affinity for wearing hats as a part of my wardrobe is taxing even my fiction spinning ability. Deflecting her attention on me runs counter to my lifetime basking in being the center of her attention. The entire family has, by necessity, become partners in this minor conspiracy of deception.
I just want my mommy!