My mom and I have more than a couple things in common. We are both the kind of women who want things done, but don’t like to wait for others to help us. So we do it ourselves…for her this behavior is mostly a thing of the past…because she really can’t do most of those things herself anymore. But of course there are exceptions. Like climbing under her bed to get all the things that have fallen down there into the great beyond. Well, she did it, and she managed to catch her breath afterwards too. And she didn’t complain too much about the pain in her back either. She felt she had accomplished something good. She was glad to get her stuff back and she was so glad to NOT have to ask for help or to wait for someone to give it. She was proud of performing an important task all by herself…just like she always has.
Of course, we learn loads of stuff from our parents. And some we will want to unlearn later. Today my mom told me that it is that impatience of insisting that we will do it ourselves that I should avoid. She says that if I do what she did when she was in her forties, I too, will have constant pain from doing things like carrying five gallon drums of tar up the ladder and to the roof. Okay. It’s a deal. Even in my fifties I promise to avoid this or anything even vaguely resembling it. It was the seventies when she was doing this and other equally challenging tasks to be the hyper achieving domestic goddess that she was. But I don’t think it was the influence of the women’s movement that put her onto this way of being a woman in the world. She just liked being busy and taking care of business that needed doing. It made her feel that was of use and she was.
Just because my mom’s body is incredibly de-conditioned and far too weak of heart and skeleton to do the tasks that she wants to do – I won’t be trying to stop her. She feels so good to be accomplishing things that need doing. I know she may get hurt or have a hard time breathing or have a bout of chest pain or the bed could collapse on her…she knows that too. But she puts it on a balance and says I want what I want and I want it now. It isn’t her being old…it’s her being my mom. And someday I will be doing those things others don’t want me to be doing too. Don’t even bother asking me to stop.