A blog by Lori Lyons

Sunday, October 15, 2017

How's your mama?

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You know how it is when a bunch of women get together?

While we do like to drink (and dance), we also like to talk about stuff we all have in common. You know, our kids, our husbands, our lives, our love for Outlander.

When we were little girls, we liked to talk about little boys, both the ones we knew and the ones we dreamed about (Donny Osmond! And now you know how old I am.) and other little girls.

When we got older, talk turned to clothes, makeup, music, teachers, where we wanted to go to college, what we wanted to be when we grew up. And boys.

Once we got to college it was which teachers were the worst, which were the easiest and how in the world did they expect us to do all that homework and still make it to to quarter beer night.

Then, most of my friends went on to the next phase of their lives -- babies.

I was left out of that conversation for a long time, and I never did get to talk about my stretch marks and pregnancy cravings and delivery nightmares -- because I didn't have any of them. I wanted to, but I couldn't.

I did get to regale friends and party guests about infertility treatments, fertility doctors, the cost of one cycle of  Fertinex and the cost of adoption.

Even after all these years, people love to hear our happy adoption story about how we were found, chosen and blessed to receive our baby girl, Lora Leigh. And the crazy day she was born.

While I was late to the party, I did get to tell lots of funny stories about my adorable little curly-headed girl, and got to talk about school, teachers, birthday parties, mean girls, field trips, puberty and the dreaded age of 13 with my mom friends.

Now she's 16 and I don't get to see her much. She has school, a job and her room. At least I can follow her on Instagram and SnapChat to see what she's up to sometimes.

When my friends and I get together these days, we talk about lot of things like diets, booze, sex, our jobs (or my lack of one at the moment) and how stupid funny Sharknado was.

And we talk about our mamas.

Everyone who follows my somewhat prolific social media accounts is well aware that my mama has been through a tough time. Some are aware that she is now living with us, in the same tiny room my mother-in-law occupied for nearly two years three years ago.

Some know that I left my job to give her my full attention and move her from her apartment to The Room.

And I'm not the only one going through it.

My daughter's school held its homecoming dance Saturday night, two weeks late thanks to Hurricane Nate (which seemed to be headed directly our way then took a turn to the right). My daughter and her BFF, who have known each other since kindergarten, joined a young man they have known since kindergarten and his date to go to the dance as a group.

Hours (and hours) before, everybody got together at the young man's house for some wine (yay!) and cheese and the obligatory pictures.

After making them pose in various ways and enduring the hundreds of eye rolls, the kids were safely on their way. Then the parents stood around for a few minutes chatting -- as we do.

Once upon a time we would have shared stories about our kids and their various adventures and even some of their recent ailments. But now we all seem to be at the stage where we talk about our parents.

Our aging parents.

Where once we might have compared notes on our children's first steps, now we're comparing notes on or parents' last.

My mom is still rather mobile, but she has had trouble navigating the few steps up the side porch and the steps in the back that go down to the pool. She's been nagging us for years to put up hand rails. For the past month she has been telling everyone who will listen that she is a prisoner in our house because there are none.

This week, we finally found a guy (and she was walking across the street to play video poker at the little diner the very next day!).

In our Saturday conversation, my friend Mary said her dad can still navigate her front steps, but her mom can't. She asked for the number of the guy who did the job.

We also talked about my mom's cognitive issues, how her short term memory took a hard hit. Mary said her mom has dementia too.

We discussed how difficult it is for our parents to work their phones, the TV remotes and what the hell is up them them and QVC?

Friday night as I did my thing in the press box at a high school football game, several of the long-timers asked me, "How's your mama?" Word has spread that I had to leave my job to care for her. I appreciate their concerns.

"I live with Dory the Fish," I tell them. That's the simplest way to put it.

Not surprisingly, I am often rewarded with a story about their own mama and their own trials and tribulations. One night, a fellow scribe and I spent the whole pregame comparing notes -- not on the game, but on our mamas.

We're at that age, I guess, us Baby Boomers, where our children no longer really need us but our parents really do.

We don't want it to be this way.

We want our parents to be the strong, independent people they've always been -- just as we want our children to grow up to be. We don't like to think of our moms as weak and needy and incapable of making a damn ham sandwich. But after seeing how she destroyed a box of cereal while trying to open it, you realize she really can't help it.

Yes, this is my second go-round. I was a terrible caretaker for my mother-in-law and I will continue to be a terrible caretaker for my mother. I'm lucky I have a husband who is on my team and has my back every single day. A lot of people are doing this alone.

Mary tried to call me a saint last night.

No. No I am no saint (have you read this blog??) I'm just doing what I've got to do.

And comparing notes.

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