Five Minute Friday: Connected

The stresses of the season combined with the stresses of helping my unraveling mom to prepare for her move to Assisted Living the first week of January have combined to make writing difficult this week. We drove two hours last night to spend 4 nights with our middle daughter and her family. They’ve welcomed us, even in the midst of last-week-of-school-before-the-Christmas-Break craziness. Today – and tomorrow and Saturday – I drove (and will drive) the last 30 minutes to my mom’s and dig into her cupboards, sorting into throwaway/give away/this-makes-the-move piles, finding just the right sized bins to put things in for her new walk-in closet. This new space is considerably smaller than her independent living apartment and things will have to be downsized. And as I ask what to keep, her shoulders sag, her voice drops as she says, “Whatever. Do whatever.” And I find myself fighting tears of sadness and tears of frustration. Why must it be so hard to get old? I ask myself, I ask the universe, I ask God – the Keeper of the keys, the Mystery I both cling to and kick against every day. 

So…I will write for 5 minutes, as I try to do most weeks. Because I love Lisa-Jo Baker and I love her blog and I love her heart. And I love her weekly invitation to let it fly – no holds barred, no editing allowed…for just 5 minutes.

This weeks prompt: CONNECTION

GO:

What are these threads that connect mother and daughter in life? They are surely different than the ones that connect mother and son. They are sinuous and strong, sometimes lovely and sometimes choking, sometimes life-giving, sometimes frighteningly powerful and strongly negative. 

This is a season to think about mothers and babies. Maybe the only time in the Christian year when we do focus on what it means to mother a child. But…we’re looking at a mother/son combo this week and next – not too many answers to my queries about mothers and daughters to be found. (In the years when I taught Confirmation to 7th and 8th graders, I had a really bright young woman who asked point blank: how can Jesus know what I’m dealing with – he wasn’t a girl. Ah, yes. Good question. Maybe another post!)

But these mom/girl threads – they are so silky strong sometimes. I remember Lisa-Jo agonizing about becoming mom to a daughter, wondering if she could figure it out after losing her own mother at the tender age of 18. Rightly, she is finding that in mothering her own little girl, she is re-discovering some of the wonder of her own mother, long lost. And for those mother-wonders, I give thanks daily.

But the ties bind uncomfortably sometimes. There is a level of commitment that comes from this connection, a feeling never asked for, but nonetheless present and so very real. And sometimes it feels absolutely overwhelming.

STOP

Not totally thrilled to read what came out of these fingertips tonight. This is one to be prayed over and through and around and about – now and forever, amen. Sigh. Five minutes isn’t anywhere near long enough for all these layers and levels of both joy and pain.
  

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Comments

  1. So beautiful. My first time at your place, and I do hope there is another blog that answers how He knows so much about being a girl. 🙂

  2. Staying with me today will be what you wrote before the actual five-minute challenge about helping your mum and asking the why about getting old! Such familiar words! My heart goes out to you across the globe!

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  4. I pray comfort and peace over both you and your mom at this time of transition.

  5. Oh…this painful transition with parents…praying for grace and peace as you move your mom…
    Blessings~

  6. even in the uncomfort, there is that tug, that tie that binds us. have you read Madeleine L’Engle’s The Summer of the Great-Grandmother? this book speaks so much of what you say here…

  7. Oh Diana. I thought of you all day yesterday.

    I read this on my phone at 6 a.m. but have just now come back to comment.

    Beautiful, beautiful photo of you and your mom. But this shrug, this “whatever, do whatever” breaks my heart.

    And these mother-daughter threads, silky strong and sometimes very fragile–sigh.

    Loving you.

  8. I hurt and rejoice at the same time with your words, Diana. I hope you understand.

  9. I think it is a powerful connection that comes with so many opposing emotions. It is difficult to put into words, but you’ve captured it Diana.

  10. Diana, I forgot to add my comment about what you said in the beginning of your post.
    My parents are still in their own home, but we know that it can’t stay that way for too much longer (they are 92 and 88).
    I find myself asking the same question: why is growing old so hard. I’m praying for you as you make this difficult transition for your dear Mom.

  11. How intriguing to read this as I am struggling at times with mothering my (adopted, no less) daughter Olivia at the tender age of 7 through this grief and trauma of the loss of her father while you are slowly losing your mother to old age. Life and God are truly so full of mysteries! I believe it is the pondering of them and in the sharing of the frustrations and questions they leave us with that strengthens His body. You have provided that to me again and again Diana! Be encouraged, your mother should be proud of the woman you are to many. Praise be!

  12. This seems to have touched a deep nerve in all of you wonderful friends who have commented in this space. Thank you for your kind words and for your prayers. It is so very hard.

    We’re trying to make the best of it, to laugh whenever possible, but as each thing she can no longer use (particularly kitchen stuff) is packed away for others in the family or the thrift shop where she lives, she shrinks just a little bit more into herself.

    She is 90 years old, she cannot see much at all, she has difficulty hearing and she is increasingly confused and forgetful due to some ‘severe shrinkage’ in the hippocampus in the middle of her temporal lobe. That’s where short term memory lives. Though she does not have Alzheimer’s, some of the struggles are similar to dementia.

    She still has a pretty good sense of humor (and she can still push my buttons, too!) and she is very emotional – which Alzheimer’s patients are generally not. So, we take it a day at a time and pray our way through. If she could see, it would help a lot – but reading is gone, dialing a phone is gone, remembering dates/times without being able to check a calendar is tough.

    Everything is complicated by some other ‘insult’ in this aging process we all must endure. That is, if we live that long. So I sympathize with you, Carolyn and you, Sandy – because you’re already walking the road of grief due to death. And most especially, my heart goes out to you, Sally, in this recent wrenching loss of hyour life partner and your children’s daddy.

    My particular grief is for the loss of who she once was, even though her physical presence is still with us. There is less and less of her personality. Gratefully I note that there are still some sparkly pieces here and there, and for those I say ‘thank you, Lord.’ I also say thank you in the midst of the rest, though I find it impossible to say thank you for it. A fine distinction, maybe, but one that helps me walk through this tough part with her.

  13. I lost my mom quickly . . . it must be so strange and hard to be letting go little bits at a time.

    I wish I was there to help you . . . I love sorting and tossing and packing. (I know, weird, huh?)

    Praying for you in this journey.

    Fondly,
    Glenda

    ps. I only know mom’s and girls. Never had boys.

  14. Oh Diana,
    I so understand. My heart goes out to you and my prayers to Him for you.
    My mom used those exact same words… “whatever, do whatever.” I know the heart wrenching sound of that resignation. I pray for your strength, patience and endurance as you sort and transition. Wish we could have a cup of coffee together so I could give you a hug.

  15. Diana, my heart hurts for you and your mom. She is beautiful. I saw my father deal with having to put his own mother in an assisted living.

    My parents only had daughters, but I see with my husband how different the relationship is between mother and son and mother and daughter. Honestly, I worry a little about that fact since I have a son and two daughters.

    I will pray for you, Diana. I know you need strength and comfort right now, as does your mom.

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