It begins. To be truthful, it began beginning a few years ago. Repeated stories. Stolen Chico's traveler's pants. Broken clocks.
The Meems is becoming more and more absent from the here and now.
Meems: Someone stole my Chico's traveler's pants. They're not where I always put them. I always put them in the same place.
Me: Could they have slipped down to the floor of your closet? They're pretty slippery, you know.
Meems: No. I always put them in the same place. I think that someone took them.
Me: Hmm. Well, before you dial 911, let me take a look the next time I'm at your place.
Meems: OooooKAaaay. (The OK of disbelief.)
The stolen pants were on the floor of her closet kicked underneath the bottom row of hanging clothes.
A few weeks ago, Reed (youngest grandson) kindly went over to Meems' apartment to sweep her porch. A haboob had rushed through town leaving a thick brown coating of sand across Lubbock.
From Wikipedia: A haboob (Arabic: هَبوب "blasting/drafting") is a type of intense dust storm carried on an atmospheric gravity current. Haboobs occur regularly in arid regions throughout the world.
Reed knocked on Meems back door to let her know that he was there to perform a random act of grandson-kindness only to be met by her eyes peaking through the wooden blinds. She feebly acknowledged him with a wave before the blinds snapped back into place.
Move furniture. Move potted plants. Sweep, sweep, sweep. Replace furniture. Replace potted plants. One more sweep for good measure.
Reed again knocked on the door to let Meems know that her porch was looking pretty immaculate. She flipped all the locks on the door and stepped out on the patio.
Meems: It looks good. You did a good job.
Reed (giving her a big hug and bright smile): I accept tips, you know!
Meems: Oh, we aren't allowed to tip!
Reed: Oh! Ha! Ha!
Meems: Ha! Ha!
A few days later, Meems was over at my house when I asked her if Reed did a good job sweeping her porch. Looking surprised she exclaimed, "That was REED?! I thought that it was the maintenance man!" A very demonstrative maintenance man at that.
We were recently having dinner when something came up about birth dates. "I was born in 1960!" Meems confidently exclaimed. The hair on the back of my neck stood up as I remembered the questions the ER doctor recited just before he figured out that she had some bleeding on her brain. "Who's the president?" "What day of the week is it?" "What is the year?" "What is your name?" When I questioned her, she knew Obama, Sunday, 2013, and Helen. But, for how long?
Those of you who traveled this path before me can totally share my angst. I don't want to become the mother. Mom sometimes tells people that I'm the Boss of Her. I miss my outgoing, meticulously dressed, detail-oriented little mother. Perhaps this is why I've found that I'm "becoming my mother." Somebody has to do it.