“This author weaves his stories together,employing a wickedly humorous skill not unlike that ofDavid Sedaris and Augusten Burroughs” Click here to Order yours now. Visit our YouTube channel to see more teasers. Better yet, sign up to stay posted on all A Cup of Tea on the Commode news. #Humor #Memoir #eldercare #acupofteaonthecommode
As our family grew, so did the Everest of gifts Mom bought. The house could handle the increasing numbers, but the fireplace could not. Stockings spanned the entire face and spilled onto both sides, two or more to a hook, prompting visitors to say, “You’re gonna need a bigger fireplace.”
’Twas the night before Christmas . . . no, ’twas the night of Christmas.
The first without Dad, or the second. Things got hazy after his passing. I’d
flown in from the Left Coast to spend the holidays in New Jersey where it was
bitter cold outside and warm and toasty inside, just as it should be during
this time of year. It’s quite often the opposite in Los Angeles, which makes it
tough to get into the spirit of things.
It seems that many, if not all, seniors are obsessed with Kleenex tissues. A Kleenex to stifle a runny nose, to catch a trickle of drool, or to erase, with a little spit, that smudge on a grandchild’s face. Neatly folded or hastily balled, crammed up a sleeve or stashed in a pocket, cherished in any condition, and always at the ready, Kleenex tissues are a senior’s best friend.
Mom also loved her Kleenex, perhaps more than most. She used one tissue over and over until rendering it utterly useless. After each assault, she stuffed those soggy shreds up her sleeve for safe keeping…
(Mom wakes in a tizzy) Mom: I have idea how my hair looks like to go out in public. It needs to be set. Mark: When are you going out in public? Mom: I have no idea. (she falls back asleep)
When I first embarked on this journey, my mother had many visions. Most were light, some dark, and others damn entertaining. But the one she saw most often and described in such detail was of a parade of well-dressed children who marched down Emmett Place and passed by her bedroom window. The girls held flowers, a single stem, or a bouquet, including her favorite, daisies. The boys held colorful balloons that bobbed in the wind. This parade also plays an integral role throughout “A Cup of Tea on the Commode.”
While editing the manuscript, my sister Caryl, out of the blue, sent me a batch of old black and white photos. One caught my attention. It captured Mom, eight years old, dressed in a frilly white dress, wearing patent leather shoes, sitting on a bench, with a flower in her hand. I don’t recall ever seeing that photo before, but I couldn’t help thinking that serendipity played a role in its timely arrival. This young girl fit in perfectly with Mom’s parade, which left me no choice but to feature it on the cover.
The handwritten title adds a soft touch and hints at the intimacy of the stories within. A pattern of daisies, her favorite flower, fills the background and reinforces the warm invitation to join me on my multi-tasking adventures of caring for Mom. And how I survived to tell the tale.
Mom surprised me one day. Both she and her red motorized reclining chair were just about vertical. Mark: Where do you think you’re going? Gen: I have to go to work. Mark: How are you going to get there? Gen: I’ll drive. Mark: Mom, you have worked in twenty years, and you haven’t driven in ten.
(Mom call out at 2:00 am) Gen: I need to lose some weight. Mark: Why? Gen: I’m not eating right. Mark: You’re eating fine. If anything, you’re not eating enough. Gen: Well whatever it is I need to do something about it. (She falls back asleep)
Gen: What have they got to eat?
Mark: I’m the they.
Gen: Well, what have you got to eat?
Early one morning a strange sound woke me up. I followed it down to Mom’s room. I found her sitting up in bed, holding a tiny bell. Mark: Please tell me you didn’t ring that to summon me. Mom: I most certainly did. Mark: And now I will take it from you so you never do that again. Mom: For Heaven’s sakes why? Mark: Because I am not your servant. I am here out of love not duty.