We spent Saturday evening and Sunday with Mom/Grandma Graber this past weekend. The roads were good and our student driver did a great job. He didn’t appreciate how the traffic picked up after Eau Claire and soon handed the wheel over to his dad. His road test is coming up. Then we’ll have completed all of our children’s formal driving training. Wow! It feels just as good as all the other mileposts: weaned, potty trained, educated, and baptized! God has been good to us and our child rearing despite our mistakes. There, now that I’ve sounded all parental and stuffy.
Here’s the grandmother’s chair. She sits here a lot these days. At ninety, she could sit more and be fine. But she still would rather be up and doing. Elv took her up on her offer to make us supper on Saturday night. Then we didn’t eat enough to suit her. She accused us of having stopped for supper on our way down. We hadn’t. We ate her supper of meatballs and potatoes and pie. She’s still a good cook, too. But I think after this, we’ll try to bring our supper with us. Though we’ll still let her make the pie.
So the point of going down to see Mom Graber is that she is the mother and needs to be visited. She won’t always be there to visit. Losing Dad almost twenty years ago when nobody was planning for that gave us all a better sense of how quickly parents can be taken from us. So we make the most of the moments we have left with them.
We suspect that Mom likes our visits because we bring the children along. She and Brad always play table games. Actually, this is what she thinks the point of our coming to visit is: to play table games with Brad. He likes it, too. So it’s okay. Her world has shrunk down to those who come to visit or send cards, pictures, and letters. She still goes to church, but doesn’t hear very well even with hearing aids.
I always feel introspective about our own old age in years to come, after a visit with Mom.
It’s easy to decide today how I shall spend all that free time when I am ninety. She told me that part of what keeps her busy is how long it takes her to do anything.
“Even getting out of my chair takes much longer lately.” She explained, talking about how her days still go quickly.
I’m watching and listening as she describes her life and interests to us.
“I am so forgetful. And I don’t like that about my life.”
She is forgetful, but she didn’t repeat her stories as much this time as she has before at times. Instead she is finding bits of trivia coming to the surface in her mind and she can remember the most amazing things. She remembers things like the birth weights of each her sons.
I also noticed that Mom has struggles of the mind, lately. She worried that we hadn’t enjoyed the church service. She apologized for the poor singing. Then I wished I hadn’t mentioned how quiet the singing had been. It was good singing, truly. She wondered if it had really been as long as it felt since we had been to see her. I honestly didn’t know how to answer her question. Is it possible to visit often enough?
We must continue to pray that she have victory over discouragements. I’ll admit I’m a little bug-eyed seeing how the enemy doesn’t leave even the aged alone. Let’s pray for our parents as diligently as we pray for our children.
It does work better to sit closer to Grandma to be heard.
This time she talked about how old and rickety her possessions are becoming. That she really has nothing that anybody is going to want when she dies. She has talked about this for the last ten years. And I think she’s worried that she really will be around for another ten years.
“I hope I don’t live as long as Mama did.”
And I think she really means that. She loves life but she’s ready to go home, too. Almost all of her peers are already on the other side.
I could get all poetic about this picture. One of them standing on the banks of Jordan; the other back a few miles with most of life before her. And all that sort of thing. I won’t bore you with that. It’s interesting to think about though.
Mom feeds the birds. I am entranced by birds. There were goldfinches, house finches, purple finches, slate juncos, blue jays (Mom shoos them away), a pair of cardinals, chickadees, and nuthatches. So I stood at the window with the camera and clicked away. I kept telling myself Sunday morning before church that it was silly to take pictures of birds and didn’t move toward it. But after lunch, I decided that it would be great practice learning how to use the camera better. So I caved in. I’m so glad I did. Now you all can tell me how I could have improved my focusing and lighting, please.
5 thoughts on “When I Am Ninety”
Lovely post. Still wish you'd post those pics on xlarge.
Some of them are, actually. But you can also tap them individually and they'll get big for you.
Loved this post Arla. I love how you honored your mom in law with your words of understanding. And it was so homey and nostalgic feeling in prose so to speak…
I am a visitor to you blog. I read this one with much interest. We siblings take a weekend to be with our aging parents. I agree about the grandchildren being along. Our children are young adults, but it sure seems to brighten Grandma's day as she watches the grandaughters work away in the kitchen. I wonder if it reminds her of her young daughters. My parents are 81 and our father has parkinsons disease. We will never regret the time we spend with them. I appreciated your respect and perspective. It was refreshing to me, as sometimes I can get weary in the well doing. Diane H
Which is why I made this post. I needed the perspective as well. It could be me and Elv some day waiting for someone to visit.