Farther Down The Road

two footprintsMother can hear grown son screaming to her, or at her, from a distance ahead.  She is hard of hearing but can still make out a tone of annoyance, if not the actual words.  “Catch up, Mom!  Get with the times.  Live!”

Mother wants to oblige.  She promised to follow her baby to the ends of the earth.  But she finds that she can’t keep up now, and son will not slow down.  Can she blame him?  He has a young life to live.  He is smitten with his own family, his glitzy career, his agenda.

Mother is not youthful anymore.  She doesn’t want to give in to ‘old’ yet, but age is calling the shots and she is powerless over it.  Fears are creeping in at a rapid pace. She knows her limits.  Eventually, she gives up the chase and sits down at the side of the path.  It feels so good to rest.   And so lonely.

Mother hardly recognizes herself.  She remembers a time when she was fun and open-minded.  She and son took on the world together.  But the world is faster now, and she is slower.  Speed is no longer a friend.  So she reverts to safe mode, which annoys her son.

Son is easily frustrated by Mother’s evolution.  He is impatient and critical.  He wants her to be the hero she used to be:  ‘Mother the Great’: Invincible Adventurer of Life and Defender of Love.  Deep down Mother knows that son is fearful too.  He sees her slipping away and feels a piece of himself breaking off.  The man he is will not allow him to accept the inevitable.  He will fight age and death by ignoring the signs. He will pretend, as he is accustomed, that Mother is indestructible.

Mother recalls a time when her son was little, playing by the lakeside on a breezy day.  Frustrated that his toy boats were repeatedly knocked over, he asked Mother to stop the wind.  She wanted to oblige her son’s naïve wish but she had to admit that even Mother couldn’t stop the wind.  These many years later, the son is the wind and it is Mother who wants to pin it down, just for a second, to capture the foregone moments that are now only distant memories.

Someday, too soon, Mother will stop travelling the path and come to rest for the last time.  If he is not careful, son may wander too far ahead and regret his absence from the transition.  But today he has a choice.  He could sit a spell with Mother, as difficult as it is, and try to see the world through her eyes for a change – just as she did for him all those years.  Or he could choose to carry Mother a few paces so she could be part of his world.  Both choices will require a concession on the son’s part.

The son’s choice will not change the final destination.  The path was carved long ago for him and his mother.  But his decision will change the journey, and the journey is what matters.  Mother taught him that.

Perhaps the boy chooses well.  Or not.  Mother and son cannot know what the next day will bring. Every day is a different chapter in the story.  The only thing that is certain is that mother loves son, and son loves mother, no matter what happens on the path.

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Elizabeth Palmer
    May 02, 2013 @ 22:56:42

    In my life, I am walking in the son’s footsteps. Thank you for the reminder to cherish my time with my elders.

    Reply

  2. Linda Sacha
    May 03, 2013 @ 14:11:48

    Sobbing. This should be in a national publication for everyone of us with an aging parent to contemplate. My tears are for my Mom who died at age 63 – we missed out on figuring this out together but there was still my frustration with her illness and how she chose not to fight it. Thank you for this beautiful life affirming reminder – i look forward to sharing this with my loved ones.

    Reply

    • patty
      May 03, 2013 @ 15:38:47

      Moms are always with us my friend….sometimes the fight is just too difficult. I choose to always fight till the end! Love you and thinking. Of you!

      Reply

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