How I Learned to Love My Seniors

As I listen to my mother-in-law arranging platters for her potluck event today I think of my own mother, who does not live with me.  She is probably sleeping, waiting for my step-dad to remove his circa-1970 earphones (talk radio) and make the coffee, which he will then bring to her in bed.  He will then go back to the dining room table and read every printed word in the paper, ads included, while grinding his teeth.  My mom will reach for her mystery novel and decide how her day will proceed.  Babysitting?  Church?  Painting?  Probably the lot.  She isn’t a frivolous person; she’s lived in too many iffy neighborhoods and raised too many kids on a single salary.  But having been married 30 plus years, she and my step-dad have an intricate daily dance: they circle each other like seasoned boxers, him defending his well-ordered garage, she clutching her Nordstrom card.  The primary goal today and many days: try not to drive each other crazy.  My mother-in-law, currently downstairs, seizes life and uses words like “blessed” and “glorious.”  She is the person you want at your party, but not necessarily in your kitchen.  Her primary goal is to keep her husband, 12 years her senior, healthy, vertical and relatively un-crabby (impossible, actually).  They have a more robust social life than any six teens you know; their Zagat guide is well-thumbed!   Really, I just want my father-in-law to not rattle around the kitchen, flipping on stove burners and neglecting to turn them off.

Point is, if my husband and I are lucky enough to grow old together I am sure we will have our own peculiar dance.  Seems like it will be based on exhaustion.  I really hope he will not want to push my arthritic self off a cliff.  And I hope we’ll be discussing the unlikely odds of Torres and Posey making errors in the same game.

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~ by alicetownsend on April 4, 2011.

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