Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Your Mommy and Me

Yesterday Jordan was cast in a show in a real NY Theater. The show is one of our favorites, it’s called “Side Show.” It’s a story based on fact about Siamese twins who, because they couldn’t do anything else, lived in a Side Show. She got the lead. We are all thrilled and the good news for her parents is that she can keep her job at Ellen’s Stardust one day a week. I love that I don’t have to give her cab money. And, as a matter of fact, she took me to the movies last week. Who would ever have thought?

Jordan and two lucky patrons at Ellen's
Speaking of parents I went to see my mother today. We are heading back to DC tomorrow because our child by choice—Edwige—had another baby and we want to see him before Jordan goes back to school. I wanted to see mom, and I needed to get the car—a twofer. She is doing fine and her new companion, Prudence seems to be working out. Prudence is a wonderful loving giving person. Of course, my mother is dissatisfied because Prudence doesn’t cook. The last companion cooked and my mother was unhappy because she felt like not cooking was taking away her independence. Is there anyway to win. Don’t look for an answer, there isn’t.

It occurred to me that Prudence and I should write a book called “Your Mother and Me.” Prudence was educated as an English and computer teacher so I am assuming she can put a sentence together, but think of that. There are so many of us who leave the care of our parents up to someone else. It would be so interesting to know about what they are thinking about us and the people for whom they care.

I never get the same story from my mother as I get from Prudence. My mother, having never been a particularly happy person (where did I come from?) is always likely to see the glass half empty. And even if she sees the glass half full I am never privy to that information. Miserable as she seemed on the phone, when I got to the house she was all dressed up and ready to go out to lunch. Further, she and Prudence were sharing a laugh about something I was not to know. Not that I cared, I was just relieved to see the camaraderie.

So it occurred to me that just like parents who leave their kids with an au pair and then have a tape that records what happens during the day, it would be of interest to millions of us to know what happens to our parents who have a caregiver. We are very lucky. Finding a caregiver is not easy. And finding someone who is kind and patient and loving and willing to spend 24 hours with a parent is almost impossible. I couldn’t do it. And for so many of us, even if we have the time, is not on our list of things we want to do. Let’s be honest, that old mother-daughter dynamic works to everyone’s disadvantage.

Prudence told me that she doesn’t get bored easily and she can entertain herself. This is a good thing since my mother is neither disabled not infirmed and she needs to be able to keep herself busy. In addition my mother refuses to put on her hearing aid so conversation is not easy. Mom, as I have mentioned before, is fairly active – she doesn’t exercise on a regular basis but we did get her a computer on which she can play mind games and she does volunteer at the local hospital one day a week. Her main activity is to shop and, thank God, Prudence finds that amusing.

I think this book could be a best seller because so many of us have relegated our responsibilities to someone else and we want to know that it’s fine. I for one, having been through 4 companions in four months, think writing a book from the companions’ perspective, would be terrific. We’re just sayin… Iris


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