This week it was as if my mother was the two year old.
On Thursday is was raining hard, a rain coat and umbrella day. Mom and I scoot slowly to and from the car, trying to avoid puddles. Mom complains that she is soaked through.
Mom, is that jacket a rain coat?
"No, but it could be if I wanted it to be."
We stop into our favorite bakery for lunch. She orders the grilled kielbasa with horseraddish dressing. It's then I notice she has put her top on backwards.
The sandwiches come and she is surprised by her order. She gets up and goes back to read the menu board, to double check what was written there. She looks at her sandwich, like the kid who has "again" been packed the lunchbox they don't like. She is getting teary.
Mom, what if we share? I'll swap half my sandwich for half of yours.
This seems to make her happy and she eats all her lunch. The kielbasas was surprisingly tasty.
It's still raining heavily, but the leaves are turning color, and I feel like a "drive".
Mom says that there is a nice antique shop down that way, so off we go.
Hunting and shopping for antiques has been something we've been doing my whole life. Mom has collections upon collections. Her house is like a museum of Americana, she loves to explain her collections to anyone who'll listen (I'm sure her aides get the tour, every day, twice a day!)
Mom still tells the story about the antique cradle that she and Dad bought at auction for me, their first child. The cradle held my brother, my dolls, and then my children. It's now back at Mom's house.
Dripping wet, we enter the antique shop. It's an old building and the floor is sloping and irregular. She is tottering and weaving and anxious to show me things, things that she owns. This is her kind of antique shop! She starts tapping her nails on a cast iron donut kettle. "I have one of these." tic tic tic tic The tapping is to make sure I see what she sees. She zooms and staggers over to another piece, tic, tic, tic, tic, look, look, look! I see the two year old again, not the two year old who says "I want, I want, I want" at the toy store, but it's the same excitement as she says "I have one of these, I had one of those." Look, look, look.
She starts tapping on a 150 year old hand-blown glass Easter egg.
"I have one of these" tic, tic, tic, tic. I grab her hand.
Yes, I know, isn't it beautiful, let's not touch. Oh my gosh, I'm telling my Mother not to touch things in an antique shop. I've known you don't touch stuff since I was... Here we are, I'm parenting my Mother.
We stagger out of this shop, wade through puddles and get back into the car. Mom says there is another antique shop in this town, it's in a barn, just down that road. We drive down that road, and then down this one, and then try that road, but we don't find another shop. It is a lovely ride, the leaves are turning colors, the houses are charming, it's picturesque New England in the Fall.
We finish our outing at the grocery store.
Mom sneaks down the candy aisle, I know she thinks she's sneaking, because of way she looks over her shoulder to see if I see her. She knows where the boxes of licorice are (can't find the milk, but remember the licorice.) She puts two boxes into the carriage. She struts back down the aisle to me.
"This is my candy." she states, proud and defiant.
Yes it is. (Please don't eat it all in one sitting, I pray.)
The last item on our list is oatmeal raisin cookies. They are baked at the store and sold in clear plastic tubs. There are no oatmeal raisin cookies today. She pickup and turn over practically every tub to read the label on the bottom. Six other varieties, but none that she wants. Mom puts on a big sad face, a very disappointed face, I think she's going to cry, I see the temper tantrum begin to erupt. The two year old is back. How do you deal with an oatmeal raisin cookie crisis? You can't grab a tantrum-throwing-seventy-something-year-old-woman by the middle and carry her out of the store.
Mom, how about raisin hermits?
"No, no, no, no!" she says.
"No, no, no, no!"
I am so not ready for this behavior.