The Dinner

“Would you and Brian be willing to take us to dinner?”  This was the question my 87 year old mother asked me a few weeks ago in regards to one of her longtime friends coming to town.   Of course I agreed even though it might have been the last thing I wanted to do.  With my mother’s deteriorating eyesight, going out is more difficult.  Add a sprinkle of her anxiety in crowds along with her hearing loss and the result is the perfect storm.  I tend to feed off of her tension which makes me uncomfortable.  When she is in discomfort, there might be some residual baggage from the past that takes a seat at the table.  So basically, I can expect the unexpected.

She has known her friend since they were 6 years old.    They have walked through weddings, births, deaths, and maintained their closeness even living in different states.    They haven’t seen each other in years, but talk on the phone every week.   We picked both of them up and settled them in the backseat.  It was a non-stop gab fest until we arrived at the restaurant.

Let me state for the record that I am completely selfish and self-centered.   I didn’t want to go out to dinner.  I didn’t want to have to be responsible for two geriatric individuals.  And that, my faithful friends,  makes me sound like an asshole.  But, something happened that shifted my attitude.  As Brian got up to get the car and we were finishing up dessert, my mother’s friend said something that clutched my cold heart, “Thank you for doing this.  I have enjoyed my time with you all so much and I know this may be the last time I see your mother,”.  Well, hell.   When you put it like that, why wouldn’t I be more open and willing?  Why wouldn’t I put their needs before my own?    That God of mine is certainly tricky in his delivery.

Of course, we had some blips.  Brian was waiting outside with the car as I corralled the two senior citizens.  I was guiding mom and her friend took off in a different direction.  I am screaming her name since she can’t hear in an effort to redirect her to the door.  Fortunately, I am quicker than her, and grab on to her arm, not realizing I am literally dragging my mom behind me.   With both of them secured – seriously a toddler room might be easier to maintain – we ventured outside.  Brian takes one and I take the other.  We assist with seat belts and are on our way.

This was a real victory for me.   I was able to be of service.  Sure, I had kind of an asshole outlook prior to the actual event, but was able to really enjoy the happiness that both of them experienced.   And, it might be their last time seeing each other which also reminds me that time is limited for all of us.   Of course, my mother adding, “before I die” after every request might have added to the impact of time being limited.   Maybe that is why my spouse offered to take her on a cruise “before she dies”.   Bon voyage to them.

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