Every so often, as often as we can manage it, my mother, my sister and I get together for lunch. We’ve done this for a long time now, longer than I’ve been driving kids to school because I remember having to work around my sister’s carpooling schedule and that was 8 or 10 years ago! Even though we technically live in the same town, we live in three different ends of it and don’t often see each other. So planning lunches is necessary.
The nature of lunch has change a bit over the years. Where my mother was in her mid 70’s, now she in her mid 80’s. Where my sister had three in high school/middle school, now she had an empty nest and a grandchild to babysit 2x/week. Where I had littles with little problems, now I have four teenagers, some with fairly large problems.
My mother used to actively participate in the conversations. She often now will sit and listen to my sister and I talk. She will be 86 in two months. (My father just turned 87) and it is a little hard to see. Firstly, I am amazingly grateful that I still have two parents. I know this is rare, especially at my age. But it is hard when the conversation turns to “five years from now” and know that my parents will probably not be part of our lives anymore.
Both of them, but especially my mother, are becoming forgetful. She forgets things you said within the conversation you are still having, as well as something said a few months ago. I’ll admit that if I hadn’t seen my sister go through this with her in-laws, I would have gotten fairly exasperated with having to remind my mother. But understanding that Mom just can’t help it has made me gentle, either reminding her or letting it go altogether.
As of now, both of my parents can still do the daily tasks required for life–food prep, eating, self-care, bill paying and what have you. My sister, having walked this road before, has an educated eye on what to look for. I’m slowly catching up. This is one of the reasons we moved back–so that my sister wouldn’t have to carry the burden alone. (And so that we could be there for my MIL, who is in her early 70’s and lives alone.)
I earnestly hope that my girls and I get to be friends and have lunch together when they are old enough. It’s been such a blessing with my sister and mother.