If You Rebuild It, They Will Return (excerpt)

The rebuilding phase began with daily trips to the—luckily not so far from home—Home Depot. As a special treat for Mom, I always stopped by McDonald’s for a berry smoothie. And though she always requested their latest “Collectable” trinket, the smoothie was all she got. Lucky for me, her disappointment melted with her first slurp of the chilly delight. While her lips never left the flexible straw, her curious eyes followed me back and forth as I carried load after load of materials down to the basement. “What’s going on?” she asked. “I’m redoing the basement.” She furrowed her brow. “Who’s paying for all that?” “You are,” I said. And every trip to Home Depot sparked the same conversation.

I kept her apprised of my progress and involved her in deciding paint colors, etc. We chose white for the windows, doors and trim. Light coffee for the walls that dried more like espresso. When it came time to choose the new carpet, I placed 3-by-3-inch samples on her lunch tray and left the room to refill her sippy cup. When I returned, she had a sample in her mouth and a scowl on her face. “This is not a cookie.” Stifling a laugh, I said, “No, it’s a carpet sample for the basement. Which one tastes better?” She chose well.

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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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