Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Please Give My Daughter a Bib

At 89 years, Mum has lost the art of conversation.  Visits at the Home can prove challenging.  Keeping up a one-sided flow of chatter, recitations of family happenings and entertaining accounts of life trivia is an exhausting ordeal.

Brainstorm:  Stay for lunch!

And so it happened that during my last 4 day visit, we did lunch every day.  A table of four in the dining hall, catered to and served by personal care attendants, OT's and nurses, we dined on senior-sized rations of nutritionally-balanced, calorie-counted offerings.  I needed to loose ten pounds anyway.

The daily ritual never varied:  the residents began shuffling towards the dining hall a half hour early, like cows to the barn without being called.  Each one knew her place and guarded it territorially.

You sit here, Mum directed me.
Can you please bring my daughter a bib, she asked a server?

Glancing at each grey-headed one around the table, indeed around the whole room, one was struck by the checkered pattern of blue or white bibs across each breast.

It's okay, Mum.  I'll use my napkin.

You need a bibwas her determined reply.

For three days I managed to avoid The Bib.  Servers and other guests smiled and joked about my ability, or lack thereof, to consume tomato soup without mishap to my new sweater, or spaghetti sauce on my clean blouse, or gravy on my fleece vest.  There must have been some reason for Mum to be unstoppable in her quest to have me bibbed.

Please bring my daughter a bib.

My daughter needs a bib.

This is my daughter, Rosemary.

We need a bib here please.

You need a bib.

 A rush of butterfly flutters swelled in my chest as the humiliation of adults in bibs began to be pressed upon me.  In the entire dining room, I was the only one seated at table without one.

I didn't need one.

I didn't want one.

My face grew hot, pulse picked up...and...I gave in.

Was I better than these seniors who so sweetly welcomed me into their midst?  They willing wore their bibs with grace.

"When in Rome...", I quipped.

Lunch was done.  I looked forward to supper.  My bib was unblemished as I finished my diced pears for dessert, but what was completely finished, was the angst about the bib.  Had my mother taught me a lesson in political correctness and manners, or had her few remaining synapses fired repeatedly in predictable patterns related to eating without a mess?  Either way, our four days of visits had passed too quickly and I left wishing they could have stretched out longer.

By the way, Mum's last words at table to me were:
You are wearing your bib inside out.  I can see the label.


12 comments:

Pearl said...

We are never too old to learn, are we?

When in Rome... :-)

Pearl

Unknown said...

Roflmao@ wearing the bib inside out.
Tsk Tsk Rosemary *wink*

"Cottage By The Sea" said...

Moms are moms no matter how old their kids get! You really should have gotten a picture of that though.

Veronica Lee said...

I would have loved to see a pic of you wearing the bib! Yep, moms will be moms!

Happy Wednesday, sweet lady!

Stacy Uncorked said...

Oh I love it! Your mom sounds like such a card - and you were a good daughter finally relenting and wearing the bib...even if it was inside out. ;)

WW: Curriculum Fair Fun with YoYo's

Kelly L said...

I am in my mid 40s and my mom turned 70 recently - I have become more thankful she is here today - I try to spend as much time with her as possible.. I love that you spend time with your mom too - even if you wear your bib inside out! Love the way you tell a story..
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Tami said...

What a touching story. I guess when you think about all the stuff our mom's have gone through for us, wearing a bib to make her happy isn't such a big deal. My mother-in-law has severe Alzheimers and on her recent visit she wanted to go outside and walk - a lot - so we made many laps around the circular driveway. I think the synapses were stuck on "walk", but each lap soothed her for a little bit.

You're a great daughter.

Liz Mays said...

You're a sweetheart to give in and get with the program. :) And hooray for not even spilling a drop on it!

Lis said...

What a lovely story ... my mom is 86 and I so know the mixture of emotions being with her but also witnessing the changes ... and yet, the instinct to mother is so deep and even though I am approaching the benchmark AARP membership age, I am still my mother's little girl. Yes, wear that bib proudly!

xo Lis

Anonymous said...

lol, always a mom. You are so amazing to do that with and for her. That tiara fits you perfectly!!! You should always wear it. :)

Pat Tillett said...

bittersweet...
I remember my mom in the same type of situation. The schedule of the facility seems to mean everything.
Long time ago.
Now you got me thinking

Lucy said...

For some reason this story made me sad. You tell it beautifully and it moved me.