Monday, March 7, 2011


What matters?
I've been thinking about mid-life. 

My mother took a fall yesterday.
She took a fall about six months ago and got a bad infection in one of her (two) artificial knees.  They did surgery and irrigated and cleaned out the infection about ten days ago.  Then she fell on that knee yesterday and busted it open.  I guess it was pretty gruesome and horrific.  She lives in my hometown, two hours from where I now live.   I couldn't go because I have been sick. 

I've been sick as in wheezing so bad that you can hear me wheeze even when I have my mouth closed.  Hacking with a cough that sounds like a bark.  Coughing to the point that it is embarrassing.  In the beginning I could hardly talk because I couldn't breath through my nose. I was off work last Monday and Tuesday.  Now dug is coming down with it and he was off work today. 

So yesterday when my family contacted me, I was in pajamas- late in the day.  I asked dug when, if ever he had known me not to shower and get dressed.  Even when I was off work last week, I showered and dressed.  But not yesterday.  So my family contacts me when my mother falls and I had this terrible struggle of feelings to rise up within me as if I should run and shower and get in the car and drive the two hours north to be there.  To be the strong, steady oldest child that I've always been.  But I couldn't. 

And the baby is coming and I have a plane ticket to go on March 31st to the east coast to be with them.  And I want to run and be there and peer through the glass at him or her and say to the stranger standing beside me "that is my first grandchild."  But I can't and I will hold him/her when he/she is a few weeks old.  Life doesn't allow me to dash here or there or to be where I want to be when I want to be. 

And I am torn between aging parents and children having children and I am learning this is what mid-life is. 

My gal pal Jennifer and I were talking on the phone tonight and she asked me how dug and I are doing.  I said
"oh, he is o.k.  I'm o.k. with him." 
Because sometimes I am not o.k. with him.  And I said to her "you know, sometimes being with someone is just being with them?"  The two of us sit in front of the fire and his head begins to nod and his book begins to fall and I say
"you are falling asleep."

And sometimes your best friend is the orange marmalade cat that stands on the kitchen table and nuzzles your head with his and he has been in your life longer than the man you are living with.
Or the little Corgi glued to your leg who has stolen your heart and is your new best friend. 
And you sit with the phone next to you waiting to get the next phone call or text telling you
that she made it through the surgery just fine and the artificial knee wasn't damaged in the fall
or they just broke her water
and the cat is at your feet
and the dog is at your side
and the man has gone to bed
and it is quiet
and the fire burns on.


farmlady said...

That last paragraph is almost a poem. It's a beautiful expression of what happens as we get older and the expectations we have for ourselves.
"What lies within us..." is what helps us survive while we are here. The "little heartbeat at our feet."(Chelsea) and all the others loved ones come and go. It's the way it is in this life.
Thank you, Cheryl, for a beautiful, introspective post.

Anonymous said...

I loved this. It was so pretty and simplistic yet poignant. Love you, Meems.

Chatty Crone said...

Well I don't know if it will help or not -but I have been sandwiched in between the two generations. Now I'm not the meat anymore - I'm one side of the bread.


With the help of a little orange marmalade or with some thing that has stolen your heart.

Glad your mom was okay.

Feel better.


^..^Corgidogmama said...'re in the shitter this week for sure!
I have felt all you were describing.
I've looked at Jim and wondered to myself...and you are????? and we are....why????
My corgi kids know me better, love me better than any male person on earth. And, I like it...which makes me some kind of sick ol' lady.
Welcome to my world which is surrounded by 85 yr. old MIL, who, I do for daily...and my 94 year old mama who come back the end of March, and I will keep her to give my brother a break.
I take ONE day a week, and don't speak to anyone...don't do for anyone...take to my bed with books, corgis and hot mugs of tea.
I have to.
It's nuts out there.
A girl has to do something for herself to survive.
Get better asap...people are out there tapping at your window...being needy...throwing responsibility your way...and then, there's dug.
Sigh...where's the Calgon, or rather, a nice full pitcher of bloody mary's????
All will sort out...all will get's all about cycles and circles!

Joycee said...

Bless your heart, I'm at the same stage...just a later chapter. Our responsibilites increase the older we get instead of diminish. Sometimes I feel like I can't make it, I need to get away so bad but that just isn't possible. Cheryl, your post touched our hearts and helped somehow...

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