Hearth to Heart:Goodbye Life: Hello Mom

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You might remember last week in this space I mentioned having taken over my teenage daughter’s room. There are several reasons for this.

First, we three girls, my daughters and myself, had all been sleeping in her room even before my accident because in our small, three bedroom house, hers was the room we chose to put the window air conditioner in – our refuge from the summer heat wave that had descended.

This arrangement works better than you might expect. Her bed has turned out to be one of the best, new furniture purchases we’ve ever made. We got it when we divided the girls things to separate bedrooms and I gave up the extra sitting/ TV/ sewing/ catch-all/ junk room (Does that sound cluttered? Well, it was!) that I now miss. Her bed is a futon bunk bed – a fold-down futon sofa on the bottom with a bunk bed over the sofa – that sleeps three.

I remember those early teen years when you want your own space to hang out in with your own things arranged around you – a place to develop your own sense of style, to discover yourself, to bring your friends to show them who you are becoming and hope they approve. This is what separate rooms for our girls was suppose to provide.

Josie had no hesitation in opening up her room to us for sleeping. We invited Dad, too, telling him he could have his choice of beds and any one of us would take to the floor. He usually declined, saying he doesn’t like to sleep in air conditioning. Our answer to the heat made it “party time in Jo’s room.”

Then my car accident changed everything. The futon bed turned out to be the answer to my sleeping needs in my demobilized state. The rungs that support the top bunk are perfect for me to grab from the bottom double bed and pull myself into position – leg cast, sore ribs and all.

Since Jo’s bed was the best place for me to sleep, that meant everything that goes with me in my present state moved in, too: a sturdy, yet comfortable, chair with ottoman and a number of extra pillows; a bib (which gets lost in the constant shuffle, but, I’m a spiller, especially when not upright at a table); a folding walker with platform for my arm cast; a bedside potty (only at night, thank goodness); a chairside table for things to sit beside me; my briefcase with Farm and Dairy materials; an extra wastebasket within my reach; mail; reading materials; and any number of various things that go with “Mom” being in this different spot!

Not only have I robbed Josie of her space, but she gives me much of her extra time, between trying to keep up with all the household chores and answer the phone when we forget to put one beside me.

From the multi-pillowed “throne” in her room, I not only make my needs known, but I issue my orders for the household, my expectations for family members, and sit on my duff, helpless to assist with very little of it. It is hard for me not to come off as a shameful, dictatorial mother whose stronghold of power really has been taken away.

I’ll quote a colorful, old seadog, “Well, blow me down!”

So, enter Josie the “throne room.” She flops tummy down on the futon sofa, blows up wearily at the wisp of hair on her sweaty forehead, captures my glance with her stave, and says loudly, “Goodbye life; hello, Mom!”

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