Mom has memory loops that she uses for conversation these days, and they are getting fewer and shorter. I tried to splice a few new frames into those loops this past weekend, but over coffee this morning it was painfully obvious they didn’t take. She hasn’t lost herself, and still recalls her family, but she can’t remember a question asked and answered a few minutes ago.
And so, I left her in St. Charles this morning after a weekend of Mother’s day rituals that she won’t remember past Wednesday. But for a few hours she had her children together, and a represented few of the following generations that she’s created. She sits both on the top of a pyramid, and along the sidelines as her seedlings sprout, grow, and create lives that seem shadow to her now.
My brother and I talked this morning about whether she’s aware that she’s not aware. We don’t think she is. She still has her perpetual façade of optimism, but it does a poor job of disguising an underlying sense of irrelevance. She’s sad, but won’t let us see it. It’s what she’s always done.
I’m aware that I’m not as relevant in my children’s lives as once I was. But then, that’s the painful purpose of a parent, creating independence in our offspring, and dying a little when they successfully embrace it.
During the drive back to KC, as I mulled my mother’s regrettable editing of her life into small vignettes, my youngest son called and told me I was to be a grandfather again. Plus, on Saturday, found out the boat deal is a go, so my oldest and I are headed to Mexico in the next few weeks. So much going on in our lives, so little going on in the person’s who is responsible for them.
I hesitate to say something maudlin about the circle of life, but sometimes the only way to speak any sense to it is through the salty taste of tears.