April 21, 2013
When I started my blog I knew I wanted to keep my community informed and involved about Our City, but I also knew that for me, family comes first.
Mother’s Day is a few weeks away and I am hours away from leaving Pinole to fly to Puerto Rico to care for mom.
My 92 year old mother lives alone in Puerto Rico. She went “home” after living in New York City for over 40 years.
I admire her strengths, but her care has become increasingly difficult. She has moderate dementia, a multitude of age related problems and has refused any and all outside help or services. She refuses to pay for anything she doesn’t deem necessary or important, which in her mind is pretty much everything.
My goodness how much is a loaf of bread? Yes mom it’s two bucks.
My sisters and I have been travelling from the States to care for her the for the last 3+ years. Moving her is not an option, she refuses to leave her home and Puerto Rican law is on her side.
She fell twice yesterday (the last day my other sister was there with her) and is now alone dealing and with her bumps and bruises. I will fly to Puerto Rico to try and care for her and try to reason with her, yet again. The odds of my getting through? Slim to none. Or as we say in the Bronx, “Forgedaboudit”.
I’m sure there are some of you saying, yeah, been there, done that.
Mom has become a legend among my friends and family.
Like many elders, she is fiercely independent, strong-willed, and plain old hard-headed. I started jotting down her “idiosyncracies” a few years ago. I add to the list whenever I visit. My sisters have also contributed to Mom’s Rules through knowing gales of laughter.
Mom’s Rules help me find humor in what is a sad and tough situation for my sisters and I. We love mom and want to protect her.
I want to share some (not all) of my Mom’s Rules with you as I jet off to be with her. I hope it makes you smile and appreciate family a little bit more.
If broken expect the silent treatment and a hunger strike.
Unplug every electrical appliance after use.
Lock every door, window, and padlock by 6 pm.
Don’t turn on any lights even if it is pitch black.
Don’t use the hot water unless you absolutely have to take a hot shower and then make it quick.
Lift the toilet seat, yes we are all female, but that doesn’t matter, she wants air to circulate in the bowl.
Do not throw away anything, that includes containers from take out food, plastic utensils, old papers, rubber bands, nick knacks, paper clips, diaper pins, old cards, invitations, bills, documents or envelopes, seat cushions, stuffed animals, plastic flowers, broken cups, Melmac dishes that date back to 1970, Styrofoam cups, and containers, ancient utensils or cookware.
Do not throw or give away old appliances or electronics even if they date back to 1960 or full of rust, don’t work and will never work again.
Do not use the air conditioner unless you are gasping for air, same goes for the fan.
Manually shut the 40-50 window louvers in the house if there is any chance of rain at all, (there is always a chance of rain in Puerto Rico).
And hour later open them all up again.
Don’t go to the store and stay too long or you’re leaving her alone and don’t care about her.
Don’t feed her any meat; she won’t eat it when you’re looking.
Don’t throw away any of the hundreds of pairs of socks she owns and never uses. Must be a throw back to her days in New York.
Don’t throw away or give away any of the multitude of clothes, shoes and hand bags she has in the closet that she doesn’t wear and will never wear again.
Don’t throw away any of the empty or half empty bottles of cologne, used lipstick, or make-up.
Don’t use any “good” sheets on the beds; use the ones that have no elastic to keep them on the bed.
Don’t wash too many clothes because you’re using too much water.
Don’t use the water hose because her water bill has gone up.
Don’t disagree with her she knows better than we do.
Happy Mother’s Day to all you mothers out there.