Gen: You look half-asleep.
Mark: Really? I wonder why.
Mom called out my name, which was unusual. Early on, and more often than not, she forgot who I was—lending credence to my “Wiping Butt Causes Amnesia” theory. In any case, I jumped out of bed in my stocking feet and flew down the newly varnished and extremely slippery stairs. It’s a miracle I stayed right side up. I slid into her bedroom, my heart racing, my lungs gasping, only to find her in bed, wide awake, and perfectly calm.
Gen: Oh, you are here.
Mark: Of course, I’m here. Where else am I going to be?
Gen: Just wanted to make sure.
Mark: That’s it? That’s all you wanted?
She nodded. I took several deep breaths to calm myself and glanced at the clock; 6:00 am.
Mark: Could you do me a favor and check if I’m a here a little later next time?
Mark: I’m going to stuff my heart back into my chest and go back to bed if that’s all right with you.
Gen: Since you’re up, may I have something to drink? If it’s not too much trouble.
Mark: No, no trouble at all. Tea or juice?
Gen: Juice would be nice.
Mark: Coming right up.
I withdrew, somewhat conflicted. Happy she was okay and overjoyed the name on the ceiling trick worked, but uncertain that I was ready for this 24/7 caregiving. And I hoped that the 6:00 am wake-up calls didn’t become a regular thing. However, under the circumstances, no matter the time, Mom’s call would always get me out of bed.