so damn cute

The other night I could have sworn I heard Calvin beckoning me, but when I roused myself from sleep I realized that I wasn’t in my own bed, but rather in my brother’s house in San Diego. A distant foghorn blew faintly across the bay, a sound I remember fondly from my decade living in San Francisco, my beloved home over ten long years ago.

At seven a.m. Matt and I went to get Mom up to go to the bathroom to prevent a bed-wetting. He tussled her hair and she looked at me with a big surprised smile, forgetting that she’d seen me upon my arrival the night before. She threw her purple covers off and sat up on the edge of the bed, her narrow hunched shoulders on a petite frame smaller than I remember. Fine, white hair sprayed up in peaks on top of her head. She's so damn cute, I thought.

“How’d you get here so quick?” she asked.
“I flew in last night,” I replied, absorbing her warm smile. I could tell she didn’t understand how I flew.
“I flew on an airplane,” I explained, and she took a playful jab at me as if I’d been fooling with her.

We helped her shuffle to the bathroom in her slippered feet, her pink and purple striped pajama pants concealing thin wrinkled legs and knobby arthritic knees.

She asked again how long I’d be staying. I said, “about a week,” to which she brightened and chirped, “OH! I’m so lucky.” I told her that I was the lucky one.

After she finished with the toilet she washed the thin white latex gloves taped at her wrists meant to prevent her from obsessively picking and scratching sores into her thin skin. “Dry them off good,” I said, repeating the protocol that Matt had instructed me to do and thinking of all the similar kinds of damage control we have to do with Calvin.

I tucked her back into bed and caressed her soft hair. “I’ll see you in a couple hours, Mom.” She blew me a kiss, rolled over and went to sleep. Before leaving the room I glanced at the entries in a bedside journal that her new night caregiver has written about what Mom has said and done in her sleep:

At least I know where I am ... We'll go to San Francisco then ... Slow down, Sasha, slow down ... lots of giggling.

As I shut the door behind me I hoped she might continue dreaming of San Francisco, of her former companion Sasha the dog and of something else that might make her giggle.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Christie, I remember your mom,and she certainly was cute!!! It's good you can be with her for a little while.

    I read the Huffington post column and couldn't have been more pleased that she recognized your talent and contribution. She's absolutely right!

    Thank so very much for hanging in there, for sharing your insights so we can be more fully human...Carol