|Mom during her 'wooden spoon' years|
I've just returned from several weeks vacation with my family, a portion of which was spent with my mother. It was interesting spending time with her, she and I are much alike, and find each other easy company. When I was younger and living in her home, she was somewhat fastidious and always a bit of task-master, the 'bad cop' to my father's 'good cop'. I always attributed my quasi-OCD behavior to being her son. The revelation I had this summer was that as she's aged she has become an entirely different person. No surprise, really, it's been thirty years since I lived under her roof. My image is an out of date snapshot of her in her forties. Now that I'm 50 and she's nearing her eighth decade, I've begun to notice that in some ways she, herself, needs a bit of guidance, gentle reminders now and then. The truth is, I see our roles somehow reversing themselves; the child as parent and vice versa. Partly, this was due to her spending ten days as a guest in our home (what is it they say about fish and house guests...). As I mentioned, like the younger her, I'm on the obsessive-compulsive side-a monster of her own creation, if you will. I was either reminding her to clean up after herself in the kitchen, or quietly in disbelief that she was as messy as my two teenage sons. When I was their age, she ran a tight ship, large wooden kitchen spoon in hand to aid in direction and enforcement. (Some other childhood friends shared membership in the 'wooden spoon club') I'm beginning to understand the label 'sandwich generation', we've got kids that aren't entirely out of the house, and parents that are beginning to warrant almost as much concern. Of course she won't be around forever, so what's a few dirty dishes and crumbs on the counter?