Wednesday, November 09, 2005

My mom is shrinking.

It's very strange how these things sneak up on you. I met her today at O'Charley's for lunch. I got there first and was perusing the Charleston City Paper for Jason articles when she arrived. I stood up to hug her and that's when I noticed that the top of her head just barely cleared my shoulder.

I was wearing sneakers. No sky high stiletto heels for me. For one thing, I'd kill my klutzy-ass self.

I've been taller than her since I turned fourteen and grew six inches in one summer. When did this happen? When did she shrink?

My mother is seventy years old. Put aside your gray-haired knitting granny in the rocking chair image.

My mom works full time. She travels. She just got back from a week long trip to New York City with her sister. They saw three Broadway plays: Lion King, Wicked and Spamalot, which my mom absolutely loved.

She has less gray hair than me, can shop me in to the ground and has a better memory than me.

She has no significant health problems other than slightly high cholesterol and some osteoporosis.

I know, I'm a nurse. Osteoporosis can make you shrink.

But that's scientific knowledge talk. That has no business being dragged in to my mom's life.

She's shrinking. And some how I'm becoming the parent.

I'm the one checking up on her. I go to her doctor's appointments with her or she calls me and fills me in on what happened with the doctor. She won't ask the doctor questions, she waits until she gets home and calls me.

I find myself admonishing her for things like running along a wet slope to tell me that a one foot long alligator was following me as I tried reunite a baby duck with its family. "You could have broken a hip running on wet grass!" I hear the words tumbling out in the same tone I would have used to scold my son.

As a child, the only girl, I worshipped my mother and looked up to her. I still do.

But there is something about laying my cheek on the top of her head when we embrace that both breaks my heart and fills it with love.

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