The First 6:00 am Wake Up Call

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?

Gen: Okay.

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.  

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Published by A Cup of Tea on the Commode, a memoir

The parent/child role reversal might not have been unique to me, but how I dealt with it was. "A Cup of Tea on the Commode" chronicles my multi-tasking adventures, filling my mother’s last years with love, laughter, and joy. Though not always successful, I came pretty damn close.

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