One thing you learn about getting old(er) is that no matter how much you want to do "stuff" and think you can do stuff, there is a finite energy reserve and it just ain't what you had at 30...or 40...or 50 or, heck, even 60.
I am always complaining about what my mother does not do and how she does not participate in any of the activities at Atria and how she says that she's earned the right to do nothing if she doesn't want to.
If I'm not careful I'm going to start sounding just like her any day now.
We leave for Santa Barbara tomorrow night, and Ashley and David move in to take care of the dogs. I had grand plans for what I wanted to do to get the house ready for them, but I also wanted to bake Christmas cookies, had laundry to get done, packages to wrap and a host of things that sneak up on you when you lose the last 3 days before the holiday itself.
We will be celebrating Christmas with Tom and family, Ned and Marta and Walt's sister and brother and their respective spouses on the 22nd, so we can drive home on the 23rd to be here to finish up Christmas preparations on the 24th and "have Christmas" with my mother on the 25th...and then do it again the next night when Jeri and Phil arrive.
I got up this morning filled with good intentions which included a trip to the bank, a trip to the store, a trip to visit my mother, and baking at least two more batches of cookies. That would, of course, include cleaning the kitchen between batches (Walt has been wonderful about keeping the dishwasher emptied). I got some packages wrapped in the morning, then we did the bank and the supermarket and then I went and took a poinsettia to my mother and visited for an hour.
I figured that after I got home (at 3:30) I could get a batch of cookies made, dinner made, and then get the house straightened up (including removing a thick accumulation of dust on everything), a small golden tree put up on the dining room table, and the rest of the packages wrapped. The big ones, for the girls.
Yeah, it would be a long day, but I've done it before, I could do it again.
Problem was that my body just wouldn't move after a certain point. I had to sit down to regroup several times and each time I sat down to rest my body it was for a bit longer time.
So here I am at 11 p.m., writing this (as my latest break to rest my back). There is absolutely no strength left in my arms and I can barely stagger to the kitchen. Even my butt aches. The cookies are now finished, the utensils and pots and pans are in the dishwasher and now I can finish wrapping presents and straightening up the house.
But I have hit the wall.
Five years ago I could have done this. Tonight I cannot.
And so I understand my mother, who is, of course, old enough to be my mother, when she says that she just doesn't want to move out of her chair.
But we had a good visit today. Today was one of those "I'm old...why am I here?" days, but we got to talking about her death and how she preferred to die. I managed to make a lot of jokes about her death. I'm getting really good about death jokes, which sounds morbid, but it's something that makes her laugh.
For example when she worries that she might die while I'm not in town, I tell her that if she feels she is going to die she should quickly run out into the hall waving her arms and yelling "I'm dying! I'm dying" so that someone will notice and be there so she doesn't have to lie on the floor for a long time.
When she worries about what will happen to her body if she dies when I'm not here, I tell her I've arranged with the chef to hang her in the meat locker until I get home. She giggles at that too, but it does stop her concerns about dying when I'm out of town.
I just hope she doesn't die tonight because if they called from Atria, I'm not sure I have the strength to drive over there. Just put her in the meat locker and I'll be there in the morning....