I was a little quiet here last week because my mom came to visit while my husband was out of town–a functional visit of sorts: she was here to keep me company and “babysit” but of course she came to see me, her first visit since my stroke over a month ago. It’s not that she didn’t want to visit sooner, it’s that I couldn’t manage a crowded household and I told her to hold off on seeing me until I was better.
I remember telling her via phone from my hospital bed that she needed to stay home. I wondered how I would handle a crowded household and felt overstimulated just by the thought of managing several voices pointed at my very fuzzy head. “Please,” I remember telling her, “Stay home. I can’t handle multiple voices, and I will ask you to come up when I am better.”
Miraculously, my mom eventually acquiesced and waited patiently (and since I’m not a parent myself I can’t fathom the amount of patience required on her part to not come rushing to my side). She is a nurse, and somehow, she managed to click that part of herself on and see me as a patient who needed quiet time to heal. When I did call weeks later to ask her to come visit me, she said “YES!” before I even finished my invitation.
“But Mom? Don’t you have to make sure your calendar is clear?” I asked.
“I’ll be there!” she shouted on the phone, leaving no doubt that she would wayside any conflicts. And leaving no doubt in my mind that she had been waiting for me to invite her to come see me.
I think her visit pushed my recuperation a bit farther–did we do anything mindblowing? No. We went grocery shopping, we ate, we shopped, we conversed, we went for walks. We did the normal mother/daughter things–nothing earthshattering but somehow it pushed my healing forward.
There were things my mom did for me that were amazing. She told me stories–how did she know that hearing stories would awaken my storytelling brain? They were not fairytales, but stories about friends and our family–narratives with a beginning, middle, and end, with fully developed characters. They were so inspiring, and the storyteller in my mind started to awaken. I rushed to write them down right after she told them to me–so distrustful am I of my forgetful mind these days, and so precious the stories. “Mom! They are so inspiring!” I would say, “Can you just imagine what went on in his head? Why he would do such a thing!”
“Yes,” said my mom. “That’s why I told you that story, so your mind would wake up.”
Now, as I type this, I’m nearly in tears at her thoughtfulness, and at the way she cares so much about me as a writer to have come with stories to tell–to lure the storyteller out of me again. Okay–no longer am I nearly in tears. I am in tears, the cheers rolling down my cheeks, thinking about this huge gift, days later.