My mother was going to stay with me during my recovery. I had asked my mom to help me get my house ready for her stay with me and she arrived around ten o'clock. I had a list of things that needed two people. Not too many, but if she was to use the guest bedroom, they needed to be done. I needed help to finish a bookcase that I had started and lift up against the wall. I needed to pull out the hide-a-bed and put the aero-bed on top. I was starting to feel a sense of urgency, a sense of, hmm, shall we say panic. Tomorrow was the day, and I was not prepared. The guest bedroom was not prepared. I hadn't gone to the store yet to get the popsicles, ice cream, and broth I would be living on for the next five days. I was starting to hyperventilate--okay, that's an exaggeration, but not by much.
Mom had a different plan for the day. One for which I was not prepared, one that didn't even cross my mind. She wanted to go out and get ... pedicures. My mom has never liked people touching her feet before. She has never gotten a pedicure when we--my mom, sisters, and I--would go to a spa and treat ourselves. I can't remember the last time mom tried to get a pedicure. The thought of Mom getting a pedicure was so foreign to me, it took me a minute or two to process what she said. She thought that getting a pedicure would be a nice thing to have before my surgery, to brighten my recovery. Now I understood.
I went along with her to the salon. All the time thinking of the time wasted--of all the things I could be doing at home, getting ready for the time when I wouldn't be able to do anything at home. I kept quiet about all that because the pedicure was something that Mom wanted to do for me. I last had a pedicure when we went to Kauai for vacation in April. I had been too busy at work to get one since. Luckily, Mom had picked a salon that was close to my house, but in reality there is a salon on every corner down here. I counted six salons on the way and we only drove a mile or two. This was her favorite spot, she said. She even had her favorite person. That surprised me. That meant that she had been coming here regularly. I didn't know that. Made me wonder what else I didn't know about her.
As children, you think you always know more than your parents. Then you grow and there comes a tipping point where you realize that your parents really did know at least a little bit of what they were talking about. But then it changes again, as your parents start to age, and then you realize that you are starting to have to take care of them a little more than usual. You start to wonder what their life is like. My mom is twenty years older than me. I am wondering now is my life going to be like hers twenty years from now. A sense of present-future-past all at the same time.
In that moment, I drop my impatience. I drop my to-do list, my agenda for the day. What is important is that this is the gift that my mother wants to give me. The chance to spend time together getting pedicures. The chance to slow down and spend some time catching up, talking, sharing stories.
A time for creating memories. And that is most important item on any to-do list.