Tag Archives: mom moves in

Mommy goes to her first “rock” concert!

I remember when I was 16, going to my first rock concert. I was with a date and a group of friends and we went to see Rod Stewart. The lighting, the noise, the costumes! Rod actually came out in a white, one-piece lycra outfit with a jeweled cape. I remember being mortified when you could see, shall we say, the outline of his anatomy.

Well, mom got to go to her first rock concert last night and she sure didn’t mind seeing Stefano Langone whip off his shirt at the American Idol Live! concert in Raleigh. Six-pack abs! Bring it on! She was giggling and smiling, saying, “I never thought I’d get to see anything like that!” The only moment of the concert where she showed any apprehension was right at the beginning, when she put her hands over her ears to block out the noise. Just like a little kid.

Mom was enamored by American Idol this season and was especially fond of Scotty McCreery, whom she faithfully voted for over and over again after each show. Now that mom lives in Raleigh, she loves all things North Carolina. With the exception of the GOP Legislature. But that’s another story.

My husband decided to get us tickets on a whim because he knew mom would be thrilled. We didn’t tell her until this past Saturday night, and she’s been excited ever since — sharing the news with friends, family, or anyone who might listen. So when Scotty finally came out to sing after the intermission, I thought she might just keel over. She was breathless, waving to him, standing up, cheering! In fact, I felt like I was at Game 7 of the Hurricanes – Oilers Stanley Cup Final — EVERYONE in the arena stood up and never sat down. Including my mom. Not bad for being 88 years old. Go Mom!

She had a twinkle in her eye that I haven’t seen in a long time. And she talked about the concert during the 10-minute trip home, exclaiming, “I’ve never seen anything like that in my entire life! It was beautiful. Just beautiful.”

I’m writing this the morning after. Mom just came downstairs and rushed to get the newspaper. She hasn’t even acknowledged me. But she’s reading about the concert and just said to me, “That was a sold out concert. I’m so lucky to have seen it. Wow, he’s got a lot of fans.”

Is she talking about Stefano or Scotty? Hmmm …



Mom is Doing Zumba

Since my last post, which apparently brought tears to many eyes, I’ve been reluctant to share my emotions about mom living with me.

There are days when I am so emotionally drained, that I don’t know what to post. So I don’t. Instead I work until 1 am, because work has always been a positive outlet for my intensity and drive. And it makes me feel good about myself.  I also get to ignore my feelings about mom being here.

But this week has been interesting. My mom has shown some new awareness. She turns down the TV when someone calls me and I’m working at home. She is excited about going to her senior center, Independence Health. (By the way, a great place for aging seniors in Research Triangle.) She’s working puzzles. Doing brain exercises. I think she’s feeling better about herself.

In turn, she’s less critical of me. (Really, a mom who is critical of her child???)

So here’s my words of wisdom for people with aging parents. Get them involved in something. My mom told me that tomorrow she is doing Zumba. She loves it because she “gets to shake her butt.”

My mom might be 88, but apparently she still loves dancing.  And I love that.




Three Generations Under One Roof

It is Mother’s Day and I am sitting here reflecting on the past year. Last May, I knew that I would be moving my mom to Raleigh to live with us. What I didn’t know was that my 25-year-old daughter Lauren would be moving back to Raleigh for a new job.

Since Lauren was in the middle of a sublease in Aspen, she rented her apartment with the furniture in it. So guess what? She had no choice but to move back home for the interim. With her little puppy Henri. And camp out in our study. For three months.

So what is it like having three generations of strong-willed, passionate, perfectionists living under one roof? Do you really need to ask?

Really, most of it has been fun. Lauren and I love to cook so we take our weekly trip to the Farmer’s Market, make these elaborate meals together, and pick out good wines to match. We take our dogs on walks together, talk. We’re both busy with work, sometimes burning the midnight oil until … well … midnight.

But there’s tension. Mom thinks she’s the boss. She tells us when to cook and how to chop the veggies, comments on our clothes and hair, laments when we don’t put on lipstick. And more. (Today’s example: Mom says, “Lauren, I saw your recipe and it says that your cake takes three hours to make. You better get it started now.” Well, it’s 12:30 and we’re eating dinner at 7. Lauren says, “I’ve got it under control, Grandma.” Mom, “Well, I’m just reminding you.” Five minutes later, she says the same thing. You get the picture).

Lauren is a little bit bossy herself. I remember when I was 25, I thought I knew everything. It’s only later that you figure out that your parents are a little smarter than you give them credit for. So she’s at that stage where she’s asserting her independence. And she’s not afraid to take charge or speak her mind. (Example: Moms reading this don’t need an example. You know exactly what I’m talking about. Enough said.)

And then there’s me. I admit,  I like to do things my way. I’m really independent, have been since I moved out of my house at age 19. Now I’m 54 and I really don’t need my mom telling me what to do. But that doesn’t stop her. So I’m learning to listen to her “suggestions,” say something like, “Thanks, mom, for the suggestion,” and then go do what I want. It’s better than getting into it with her. (Example: I say to mom and Lauren, “Enough out of both of you. You think you’re the boss, mom. And Lauren, you think you’re the boss. Well, I have news for both of you. This is my house and I’m the boss. So both of you knock it off right now.” Then I walk away and mom sticks her tongue out at me. Highly effective.)

Lauren has now moved to her own apartment. But she’s here today for Mother’s Day. The dogs are chasing each other around the house, barking. The TV is on too loud because mom can’t hear it otherwise. Lauren just discovered she forgot buttermilk for the cake. She’s running out the door, leaving a mess in the kitchen, and yelling these instructions: “Don’t touch anything. I’ll be right back.” Mom is yelling, “See, I told you to start the cake earlier.” The phone is ringing. Mom’s “offering a suggestion” about how to get the dogs calmed down.

Ah, the joys of family. But I wouldn’t change a thing. There’s something to be said about three generations under one roof. It’s never dull. Just ask my husband.

Happy Mother’s Day!

American Idol, Dancing With the Stars

Before mom moved in, I prided myself on the types of TV shows I would watch. Sure, I had a guilty pleasure: Law & Order. Couldn’t get enough of it, would watch every marathon over the holidays (Isn’t that what holidays are for?)

Normally, I would watch National Geographic, the Discovery Channel, the Food Channel, the Travel Channel. Some of it was fun, some intellectual, some emotional. But I guess I had a bit of a superiority complex … I wasn’t watching network TV. (OK, TV snob, just say it).

But that has changed. Mom is a huge American Idol and Dancing with the Stars fan. As a result, I now find myself rooting for Scotty McCreery and Kirstie Alley (is she really 60?) when I watch TV.

Ok, so it’s not intellectually stimulating, unless you find the blonde on DWTS shaking it an inspiration. But my mom has so much fun. She votes for her favorites, talks to her friends on the phone about it, and looks forward to the entertainment.

I actually caught myself saying tonight, “OMG, this is the best group of talent on American Idol.” Next week, Scotty and Kirstie, I will bring myself to vote for you. In my mom’s honor, of course. But don’t tell anyone.

Unsolicited Advice is the Worst, Or So I Thought

There are a lot of books and articles written about communication between men and women. I remember reading Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. And although it was many years ago, the one thing that stood out for me was: unsolicited advice is never appreciated.

Women, for instance, like to talk and vent. They really don’t want you to say anything, they just want you to listen. (By the way, that’s why we have girlfriends. They understand that instinctively, offering sympathy or empathy). But men are different. They listen, then offer advice because they want to help you solve your problem. It’s maddening to women because all they want is for someone to listen.

This all came back to me the other day after listening to my mom give me unsolicited advice time and time again. I was getting frustrated to the point … well, you don’t want to know. And after a conversation with my sister, she said: “Unsolicited advice is the worst kind.” Ahhh, it suddenly all clicked. When you ask someone for advice, it’s appreciated. Otherwise, not so much.

So I had a heart to heart with my mom the other night and told her that when she gives me advice I didn’t ask for, it makes me feel like I’m a four-year-old again and i really wished she wouldn’t do it. We talked quite a bit, she apologized profusely, and I really thought she understood. Success!

That was Saturday. This is Monday. I’m leaving the house and she says, “You work too hard. I can’t believe you’ve been on the phone all morning and now you have a meeting. Is that what you’re wearing? Really? Where’s your lipstick? You look really pale.” Seriously. My response: “Mom, don’t you remember the conversation we had the other night about you giving me advice I didn’t ask for? I’m more inclined never to wear lipstick if you nag me about it.”

She looked at me dead in the eye and said, “What conversation? I don’t know what you’re talking about. But if you don’t want me commenting on your lipstick, then fine. You’ll just look pale.”

So I found out there’s something worse than unsolicited advice. It’s when someone doesn’t remember giving it to you.

Do Words Hurt If You Don’t Intend Them To?

This is the most difficult post I’ve written so far. And I am really struggling about how to deal with this with my mom. I was brought up in a very liberal Democrat household. I remember as kids we were brought up to be respectful of all people … black, white, Asian, Latino. We lived in an old mill town in RI with people from all incomes.

Heck, my grandparents both came over here from Europe — one from Portugal, the other from Poland. They lived among other immigrants. My dad had a funny sounding Polish name until he changed it. My mom’s family had olive skin. In fact, my grandfather on my mom’s side is also part Native American Indian.

So here’s what has me in a tizzy. My mom refers to any dark-skinned person as colored or Negroes. I never remember any member of my family saying this in my household. I’ve tried to tell her that it’s not kind or politically correct to use terms that might be hurtful or insensitive to other people. We have this discussion every week, week after week. I’m ready to pull my hair out because when she says something like this it literally makes my stomach turn.

I know she doesn’t mean it. But my worst fear is she’ll be out in public and say something offensive. How do you tell someone you love that words hurt, even if she doesn’t mean it? Any suggestions?  I’m sure I’m not the first person to deal with old-found prejudices, buried deep, now rearing their head.