Tuesday, August 3, 2010

DAY 2 in which I reveal what a bad seed I am

My mother has requested a new sweater vest.  She is specific - she knows what she likes and her most important choice is that of the fiber, it must be cotton.  (sigh)  I've been longing to try Blue Moon fiber - but alas, they do not offer a cotton.  Would it be wrong to try to pull the wool bamboo over her 81 year old eyes?  Should I just go ahead and order some of their delicious yarns and set to knittin'????  In my heart I KNOW that the fiber will be indescribably soft and comforting.  But I would feel ugly and unlovable in deceiving me old mom.  I'm a bad seed.  She and I are engaged in a battle these days.  It goes like this -

"Mom, you don't HAVE to go to the Nursing Home every other day.  If you don't feel well and the place further depresses you, just stay home.  He doesn't know you're there half the time, anyway."  She protests this and whines a bit and I begin to pale and sweat.  "Mom, he calls out for you because he remembers your name.  When he sees you, he doesn't recognize you."  She offers up her excuses.  I'm experiencing multiple hot flashes.  "Mom.  Mom.  Do you want me to remind you what a terrible husband and father he was?  You're doing more than anyone else ever would.  Mom, what do you think about Bob?"

You see, Bob is the husband of Lillian, another patient at the Nursing Home.  Bob comes every day and he feeds his wife and takes her out to the garden and when he strokes her hand and speaks so lovingly to her, I have to turn away, it seems wrong to eavesdrop on this tenderness.   Lillian does not respond to her husband any longer.  She is frozen into place now, without speech or recognition.  The other day I walked into the Nursing Home to find Bob and my mother sitting together in the sun room.  There was conversation and a little laughter.  I was astonished and thrilled.  Bob!  He is just what the doctor ordered!  Me old mom needs a friend.  Now how do I convince her that there is nothing wrong in accepting the gift of friendship - the gift of survival - the outlasting of the plaque of Alzheimer's?  I am not suggesting that they run off to Monte Carlo (although, that would be absolutely fine by me) I'm talking a cup of coffee at Starbucks, for Chrissake.  My mother picks at some invisible lint on the front of her smart linen shirt.  She reminds me that I am her lifeline.  The image of coffee and Bob is shrinking and I feel a seizure coming on.

Oh - and here's some green for you -
The children have returned from their extended weekend to the Cape.  I am certain that Bubbha will be very happy  to return to his routine.  I know that I am.  Still, I'll miss seeing his funny old face first thing in the morning -
Believe it or not, there HAS been some knitting!  While I was dog-sitting I worked on face cloths for Hilary.  I found a few skeins of an old Rowan organic cotton - they must have been stashed at least 10 years ago!  They were lounging in my hope chest which is lined in cedar, so the skeins smelled lovely.  I like this pattern very much because it is easily memorized and has some real structure, which is key for a face cloth.  Some knitters might poo-pooh the notion of knitting face or wash cloths, but I find these little rectangles happy distractions from my intricate lace projects.  Plus, I like to incorporate knitting into my ordinary world.  It makes me happy to reach for something that I need, that I've made for myself.  Better still - to be able to give away as gifts.
This is called 'Double Bump Scarf or Dishcloth Pattern', designed by Missy Angus.  She warns that it is addictive, and I can echo the sentiment.  I like that it is reversible and can imagine it in the softest gray fiber, wrapped several times around one's neck.  (Blue Moon Fiber Arts?????!!!!)


JelliDonut said...

What about BMFA Sock Candy? http://www.bluemoonfiberarts.com/newmoon/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=19_70

As for your mom--I'd go with the bamboo and tell her it's Egyptian cotton. People don't always ask for the things that are good for them. Instead, they ask for the familiar.

The story about your mom and Bob was so sweet. You a bad seed? Hardly!

Anonymous said...

I have a bunch of Classic Elite Newport cotton I could sell you. It's about 16 stitches to four inches. Machine wash, tumble dry and it's really fun to knit with. If you're interested, let me know and I'll see what colors I have. I did my February Lady with it.

Zoey said...

I loved the story about Mom and Bob--What a wonderful piece of writing! It is sad and yet offers hope--since these spouses are doing everything they can to care for their husband/wife during their last days on this earth. Sometimes we cannot understand true love.

I think if Mom wants cotton, you should do cotton. Just because she is 81 does not mean that she won't know the difference.

Loretta a/k/a Mrs. Pom said...

My mom is turning 85 this month. My Dad died 20 years ago in November. I know she wishes she had him to visit, but at the same time, I am glad she was spared that vigil after watching her own parents go through it.

And if she is like my Mom, she will NOT like the bamboo if she asked for cotton!!

kate said...

After my Dad died about 9 years ago, Mum was sent a letter of condolence from a long and far away friend, orginally a friend from summer camp where they were both counselors. Dizzy, as she had called him, had lost his wife a year earlier, and she had send him a letter, and so their connection was re-established. In his letter he mentioned the up-coming 50th camp reunion. Mum hummed and hawed, dithered on about what people would think, what would Dad have thought, etc. etc. After months and much urging from myself and some of my siblings she finally went to the reunion. What followed was 7 years of probably one of the deepest and dearst friendships I have ever had the joy to witness. Sadly we lost Dizzy last years to SARS, ironically picked up on the plane on a visit to see my Mum. but I know Mum was ever so glad to have re-connected and re-gained the great friendship they had started so many years ago.

Jody - if you think the friendship is good for your mum, then encourage it for what it is - the joy of sharing time with someone who makes her smile. She likely will always remain committed to her husband, but with your encouragement perhaps she can see that she can balance the difficult obiligation she feels she must keep, with the joy and delight of a new friendship.

Or, you can always do what my cousin-in-law did with the painter and my Aunt-in-law. Start the ball rolling by inviting him to dinner, or in your case coffee!

Whatever it takes, everyone deserves to have a little happiness each and every day. I hope your Mum finds some!