My diary always seems to fill up months in advance these days so there is always something that demands my attention here in London or elsewhere, but never gives me enough time to spare to drive the 120 miles trip (there and back) to see my poor old riddled-with-arthritis mum. She lives alone and finds it harder to cope with the house, garden and shopping.
She is virtually housebound now and relies on me more and more. We really ought to move her closer to us, but in the past we have had thoughts of moving ourselves, once Kay left home, so we put off moving Mum until we knew what we were going to do. Then in more recent years, with Greg's behaviour being so impossible, I have not liked to move her in with us and I cannot always spare the time to drop everything to visit her for a few days. Now, with the credit crunch and housing recession, I doubt we could sell her house quickly enough to facilitate a move. It has been awkward but so far we have managed. I telephone her every day and try at least to visit her for a week every 6 weeks or so to do major chores for her. Thank heavens too for Internet shopping. It has saved our lives. During one of our telephone conversations , Mum will every so often give me her shopping list. I order the groceries online from the supermarket and they deliver to her a few days later. I pay online and Mum reimburses me by cheque when she can get a neighbour to post the cheque to me. We have been doing that for a few years now and the system works quite well. Recently, however, I have been up to my eyes with sorting things out for Kay (interviews at university or just being there for her while she did exams), attending hospital appointments with Greg or for myself. Unusually, I haven't been able to see my mother since New Year, as there was always something vital that got in the way. She never complains, but sounded a bit down recently, so I was damned if I was going to miss the chance of seeing her for Mothers' Day, though, which takes place in the UK today.
I went to see her on Friday, stayed overnight and came back late yesterday evening. We had an incredible action-packed 36 hours together. Even the weather was glorious with wall-to-wall blue sky and sunshine. On the first day, we wandered around the shops (as best as mum can manage with her dodgy knees and back), spent time in her favourite cafe watching the world go by and reminisced about the old days. On the second day, she suggested a very long-walk down to the sea-front. She never gets the chance to walk far and is afraid to do it on her own (she has had very bad falls in the street in the past which has now made her very nervous). She felt she needed the exercise and the fresh air. We walked very slowly and stopped lots of times, but we made it down to the seafront. We sat at a promenade cafe and watched the crowds of people drawn out by the sunshine. We got a taxi back home but it was amazing just how far she was able to hobble. She was delighted with her progress and felt elated that she had got out of the house for a while. I cooked lunch and then we sat in her garden basked in sunshine until it was time for me to leave for London again. I later rang her and we both said what a marvellous time we had had.
Today is Mothers' Day and I came down to find Kay was already up (before me? on a Sunday?) and had prepared breakfast for me. She also gave me some lovely presents and a vase of flowers. I rang my mother and then was put on a pedestal for the morning. Told to do what I wanted. As I write, Kay is preparing lunch for me. After lunch, Greg, Kay and I plan to have a walk with the dog in the wild park I mentioned in my blog recently. The sun is still shining furiously.
All in all a truly good few days.