Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Laughing with Mom and Dad

I returned yesterday from a weekend at my parents' house. Mom's health is a continuing concern, but she told me Friday night that she knew when her health troubles began that she could either freak out and fall apart or just hang in there and try to find the humor in it wherever she could. She chose the latter, and this visit, like most of ours, was again one of (much-needed) laughing and teasing between us all.
Mom told me that as the medical staff prepared her for her first MRI, they reminded her to "stop moving," as she would have to stay still during the exam, and my poor mom, suffering from severe tremors and muscle spasms, dryly noted, "If I could do that, I wouldn't be here." The MRI technician then asked her what kind of music she'd like to hear during the exam, and Mom said, "Oh, just anything relaxing." Moments later "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" began to blare all around her at full volume. We laughed so hard together over that Friday night, we were almost crying. We would start to settle down again, and then one of us would start singing the "Uh-weem-oh-weh! Uh-weem-oh-weh!" part and we'd break up again.
Making it even better, Mom said the next song on the MRI playlist was "Eye of the Tiger." What on earth were the MRI staff thinking?! Ohhh, we laughed so hard. I told her she should be grateful they didn't continue with the theme and blast "Welcome to the Jungle."
She said that while she has been stressed over the major medical bills that have been coming in, Dad has been pretty cool about it, just looking at it like, "We'll pay what we can every month, but these won't be paid off in our lifetime, so what can we do about it? Just focus on getting better," but that even his cool broke a couple weeks ago, when he opened yet another "THIS IS NOT A BILL!" notice. Exasperated, he told my mom he wanted to make a copy of one of his blank checks and mail it back to them with "THIS IS NOT A CHECK!" printed across it. :)

While assembling an apple crumb pie for Sunday's dinner, Mom and I reminisced about some of our kitchen mishaps over the years. She brought up the Easter visit that was Mike's first to her and Dad's house and how I'd made a big production out of making a big Edible Arrangements-style fruit bouquet for dessert but hadn't made it right, so the entire morning's work fell off the counter onto the floor. Mike and Mom had just watched in silence and continued to stare at the mess and then at me, waiting for my reaction (and momentarily too stunned to laugh) until Mike commented, "Your cooking show was just cancelled." :) This weekend when she brought it up while rolling out pie crust with trembling hands, I told her that her cooking show was called "Shake and Bake," and Dad groaned from the living room while she and I snickered.
Mom said her beloved aunt Ann had always loved the anecdote of Mom's horrific experience when my two brothers and I were all sick with pneumonia at the same time as kids. I was almost hospitalized over it, never having had that strong of an immune system, and my brothers were seriously sick with it, as well. One morning while she ran from room to room checking on each of us, frazzled and near tears, there was a knock at the door. Mom opened it to find a Jehovah's Witness smiling at her. "Have you ever heard of Armageddon?" he asked her. "Heard of it?" my poor mom cried out. "I have three kids here with pneumonia. I'm LIVING it!" I had never heard that story before and howled. 
Saturday night, Dad was working on a crossword puzzle in the living room and came into his and Mom's room where Mom and I were watching TV to ask for the four-letter name of the band that sang "Mr. Roboto." "You remember that one?" he asked and then quite unexpectedly started singing the Japanese part of the lyrics and doing the Robot. Dad! Dad can do the Robot?! Mom and I were (already giddy and) so distracted by his impromptu song and dance that we never answered his question, and it wasn't until I called home after getting back to the apartment yesterday that I remembered to say, "...Styx, Dad. With a 'y.'" :)
And I found Sunday's "For Better or Worse" comic in the paper especially funny and took it out to Mom and Dad on the deck after reading it. Even when Mom and I said goodbye to each other yesterday morning, we pulled apart with a cheerful "Dite, dite, Hodey!" that made us all start giggling again.   I doubt I'll be lucky enough to have both Thanksgiving and Christmas off from work again this year, but I'll get home at some point both next month and in December. In the meantime, we have memories of a happy weekend--and of course, a letter ready to go out in tomorrow's mail. "Dite, dite...." :)


Lisa said...

LOVELY pictures, Val! I really hope your mother will improve and that they can help her. In the meantime, you've all got some *very funny stuff* to keep you going.

Val said...

Thank you, Lisa. :) And yes, it was a gorgeous weekend. 'Good to get out of the city and see so many TREES again. :)

FlowerLady said...

I am so glad and thankful that you and your parents had a wonderful weekend with lots of love and laughter. Wonderful memories shared.

I love that second picture with the heart captured in the leaf.

I love your Mom's attitude.

Love and hugs to you dear Val and your folks too.


Val said...

Thank you, FlowerLady. I couldn't believe that leaf. . .such a clear heart. :) And yes, Mom's attitude will help her and us all.

C'est moi Claudette said...

Oh Val, I love your humour. My mom always laughed too. I hope your mom can laugh till the end of those bills ; (
I have 3 kids too. Brittany, 22, Riley 20 and Colt 18.
I can't imagine all 3 being sick at the same time and having JW's come knocking at my door, lol.
Today was very emotional for me. I haven't left the house till today. I found myself wondering if people knew my mom had gone. I feel like the world should stop, but it doesn't and life goes on.
I'm trying to pack, but it's not coming together. I leave tomorrow. I should be overjoyed, but I'm not. I know I'll be a mess with my girls, but I also know they will make me smile.
Thanks for your hugs and messages Val.
I hope you have Thanksgiving and Xmas off too.

Val said...

Hi, Claudette--

It always feels unbelievable that the world continues on "just the same" after a loved one dies. I try to remember that I probably walk past someone every day who has just that day lost someone (s)he loves, and it probably troubles (or at least seems odd to) him/her that I seem happy and carefree. 'One reason we all need to remember to be kind to each other and give people the benefit of the doubt.

I hope--and know--you will enjoy your time with your friends. They love you whether you are happy and sad and will be a balm for your pain, I'm sure. :)

Much Love--and thank you too :) --


CACHANILLA73 said...

I have missed your writing. I 'm glad you had those days at your parents. I pray for your dear Mom, so her health can improve. Take care.. Love that cat picture. =)

Val said...

Thank you, Cotty. :)

(P.S. 'Glad I was at work and not at home with Mike the night the Yankees lost their last game. ;) )

Just Plain Jane said...

Laughter, even if it doesn't heal......and I think it often does.......surely saves many a day. I send good wishes to your parents and to you and your love. You're so good to be such a regular reader of our blog. Thanks for that. Love,

Val said...

It is a complete pleasure to get to follow along on your--and Bob's and your family's--adventures and journeys, Jane. Thank you too. :)

Pierre BOYER said...

J'aime beaucoup ces images...


Val said...

Merci, Pierre! :)

Wish on a Whisker said...

Thinking of you and your sweet mom. ♥~ Mandy

Val said...

Thank you, Mandy. :)