On Tuesday, my mom set off on the next phase of her summer journey. Since she now resides in Hawaii, when she is here in California she stays with me. Our personalities are quite a bit different. She is an extreme people person who wants to be around them (me) all the time. As much as I like being around people, there are also times I like NOT being around them. Sometimes that makes living together when she is in town a bit difficult. The thought, “We have been together for 24 hours. What can we possibly still have to talk about?” pops into my head every other day or so when she is here. Therefore as much as I love having her home, I’m also happy when she takes off again.
I’m lucky if I can shake her for an outing with some friends when she is here. If I do, I feel like I’m back in high school. To this day she asks, “What time will you be home?” Usually my response is, “Um, Mom, I’m an adult. It’s my house and I can come home whenever I feel like it.” She then goes into the spiel about how I’m still her daughter and how she can’t sleep if I’m not home. I remind her of all the times I go out when she’s in Hawaii and she sleeps just fine. In the end, I give her a time frame and text if it changes. I’ve learned that’s just easier than arguing about it.
This trip in particular has made me very aware that she is getting older and, as the only child, I am the one who needs to make sure she is taking care of herself. Back in April, she had rotator cuff surgery on her right (dominant) side. It’s a pretty brutal recovery process that’s she’s still working on. If that weren’t enough, in June she had carpal tunnel surgery on her right hand. She’s kind of mess right now trying to recover from the first surgery while still in quite a bit of pain from the second surgery. So imagine my surprise when she announced she was leaving Hawaii for a month and half of travel to Europe and then separate visits in California, Nevada and Montana…with a right arm that’s basically useless. There was no talking her out of it either – I even tried to forbid her from going, but who was I kidding. She’s about halfway through her journey and has done ok, but can’t carry her luggage and does suffer from pain at the end of particularly long days.
When she told me I couldn’t forbid her from taking the trip, I reminded her of a time she forbade me from leaving the house. During my senior year of college, I came home for Christmas. The day before Christmas I came down with a bad cold/sore throat and ended up not being able to go to the family dinner the next day. The morning after Christmas I woke up feeling a bit better so decided I'd keep my day-after-Christmas shopping plans I had with a friend. When I came downstairs ready to go, my parents told me I couldn’t go – I had been too sick for Christmas so I needed to stay home and get better. I was shocked, having lived on my own since I was 17. We had a huge fight – me saying if I were at my place I’d go and they wouldn’t even know, them saying I was in their home and wasn’t going. In the end, I didn’t get to go. “And that was ONLY a cold!” I told my mom. I guess I inherited my stubbornness from her because she didn’t budge.
So now she’s off again, and I’ve got my house back. But I’ve found myself texting her to check where she is and that she arrived safely, and continuing to express my worry for that arm of hers.
Raising a parent sure is hard work.