Pre-Birthday Lunch With My Mother

My mother had her regular doctor’s appointment today in Durham so she came to take me to lunch for my birthday, two weeks early because why not kill two birds with one stone. We went around the corner to Bull St. where we got the last table between an older than me, but younger than my Mom, woman who was eating alone and a college student studying. My mom’s hearing is not the best, especially in a noisy restaurant so I am sure I was speaking to her in my normally loud voice. I was awarded best cable salesperson at selling to the elderly due to my low and loud voice.

Our conversation covered our normal litany of topics. Starting with who’s died or is sick. Since my parents are great lovers of George H.W. Bush, they had watched Barbara’s funeral in real time on TV on a Saturday. My mother reported that my father said, “It was the best thing they had seen on TV all year.” I am going to have to write a Doro Bush and tell her that.

After covering who is sick or might be sick, or should be sick, due to the way they live, our conversation turned to what my sisters and I are supposed to do with my mother when she is dead. Nothing is eminent, this or talk of something like this is perfectly normal. Many times my mother has quizzed me about what I am going to do with her…fill in the blank, when she is gone. She just wants to know that I am spending all my time worrying about her stuff.

Since I did a major clean out yesterday and followed it up today with emptying a dresser full of shirts I will never wear again, I encouraged her to do some purging. “I can’t, I don’t know where to start,” She hedged. “Just start with one drawer,” I encouraged her.

Cleaning out my stuff is bad enough but the thought of doing my mother’s is not fun. “I’ll come to the farm and help you this summer,” I offered. “But you are not going to like how hard on you I will be.” That was the end of that line of talk.

The older of the two women sitting on one side of us got up to leave and leaned in and said, “I have had the best time listening to you two. I am sorry the tables are so close, I couldn’t help but over hear.” Looking at me she said, “You are the best daughter.”

I quickly corrected her and said that my sister was the best daughter, but apologized for interrupting her lunch. She told my mother she was lucky. I must have sounded nicer than usual for someone to think that since the good daughter was not with us.

It was the perfect way to celebrate my impending birthday with my mother, planning deaths, and talking illness. Maybe she will surprise me and clean out a drawer so I won’t have to do it in ten or fifteen years.



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