My mom is not as young as she used to be. I’m not sure if she would care that I printed her age or not (taking no risks and with the fear of being “grounded” at age 50), let’s just say she was born sometime during the Roosevelt Administration (In case you were wondering–Franklin not Teddy. Oops, I think I just got grounded.).
Up until now, my mom has been relatively healthy all things considered. Oh she has had a few health scares down through the years (who hasn’t?), but all that changes soon as she will have two heart valves replaced (an aortic and a mitral valve are the trouble makers). So like an Art Van Furniture Store door buster special—she is getting a ‘two for one” special: Two valves. One surgery.
This past Monday, I was able to spend the day with my mom at the hospital. It was just mama and me (and her roommate Mrs. Price). We didn’t do much. We talked about family and friends. We talked about her bland hospital cafeteria lunch and the bruises on her arms from the IVs. We watch the Game Show network. (J. Peterman, of Seinfeld fame, not Richard Dawson was hosting The Family Feud. He was not wearing an Urban Sombrero). I helped her put her socks on when she was ready to get out of bed and we took a walk down the hall so she could get a little exercise (neither one of us will be confused with Usain Bolt).
Nothing earth shattering happened at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit with mom and me on Monday. It reminded me how thankful I am for my mom and my sister, Beth, who has spent many, many similar days with my mom. Still it was a good day for mama and me.
When Moses brought down the Top Ten instructions for the people, number five on the hit parade reminded us to “honor your father and mother” (Exodus 20:12). Obeying that particular commandment according to my Jr. Church teacher, Mrs. Cones, meant no back talking and no arguing when your parents said, “eat your vegetables.” Usually, it was kind of a “behave or burn” type of lesson. Mrs. Cones was a no nonsense kind of lady—especially when it came to obeying your parents and eating your veggies.
Now that my mom is aging, I view the commandment a little differently. To honor an aging parent means to respect them; treat them with dignity and listen to their worries and concerns. To honor an aging parent is being there (and when you can’t be there it’s calling them). To honor an aging parent means that sometimes you break appointments and adjust schedules, just so you can sit and watch a two families trying to name “Things at a Picnic” on the Family Feud.
It was an honor to be with my mom this week.
As you think of it utter a prayer for my mom as surgery and treatments are looming.