Sunday, November 1, 2009

"I Took My Mother's Car Away"

I don't have children.  Been married 20 years, have 2 cats and sometimes joke that they are my children, but I have enough friends with children to know that realistically, cats are NOT children.  Though they take a lot of love and attention (play time, litter boxes, discipline not jumping on the counter for the millionth time, etc.) they still are NOT children.

I do have a mother.  Every person has one.  I am half the age of my mother.  She had me when she was 43.  Quite a job for someone at 43 I'd say, since that is exactly my age now.

I don't know what it's like to take away something a child loves for the sake of their well-being or put up boundaries 'for their protection', but I do know what it's like to take away my mother's car.

She's 86 and has been a widow for 8 1/2 years (for the second time).  Her first husband died after 2 years of marriage and one little boy, who later died at the age of 26.  And oh yeah, did I mention she lost another child of hers who drowned when he was just 2 years old.  She knows what it is to give up something she loves.  So taking her car should be an easy thing for both she and I - right?


I have this huge crushing weight in my heart and torrential rains threaten to pour out of my eyes if I but open the dam.  Fortunately I was able to hold them back.  Just some scattered showers.

For the past couple of years she has been saying that she needs to quit driving.  I always agreed.  But I was determined not to force this on her.  I felt she should make her own decision.

A few weeks ago she called my cell phone and left a message (though prompted by my sister) and said she was ready to give up her car .  I called her back to make sure she had not been forced into this phone call (as if my sweet sister could even do such a thing).

I have to admit I've been dreading this day.  I went through all the arguments in my mind - ya know - the "she could have an accident and kill someone" kind of thing, but it never helped.  I know that she is crossing a new threshold in life when she releases her car.  She now depends on everyone else for just about everything.  Doctor, dentist, groceries, church, holidays....oh my, the holidays.  We will now need to pick her up for everything from Thanksgiving to Memorial who knows what else.  Okay, so some of my feelings are selfish.

But right now, I feel really, really sad.  In fact, as we were talking tonight (before the rude car removal ritual) she mentioned that she heard some messages on TV today that helped prepare her for "her car being taken away from her".  I politely tried to let her know that the last thing I want her to feel is that her car is being taken away.  She gave permission.  She made this decision weeks ago.  Now I feel like the bad mother who is disciplining her child.  Is this hurting me worse than it is her?  Probably not - though it feels that way.

When I finally left her house, she said, "well, I guess this is goodbye" - to her car, not me.  That did it.  I had to make my way quickly to the car, her car that is.  If she showed any emotion whatsoever, the torrential rains would begin.

Yes, I guess I've become the mother now.  It's happened gradually.   I just hope I can be as good of a mother to her as she has been to me.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, I can so relate to this! It's not easy realizing you've become you're parents parent...but God is good! He gives strength and grace for each step of the journey.