Since the stroke, which Meme likes to refer to as the ‘thing that happened,’ my mom and her siblings have assigned days that everyone is responsible for calling or visiting. She’s convinced it was my mother who cracked the whip on her siblings, but it wasn’t, though Janet is pretty whip cracking, I’ll give her that. The daily calls and the stipulation that we could install an emergency alert system in her house, is the deal to keep her independence. It’s all slightly BS. Secretly, I believe that they’re all afraid of her stubbornness and she’s just humoring them by allowing these daily check ins, but whatever works...
Shortly after the ‘thing that happened,’ Dave was over there helping to install something and Meme was filling him in on these daily calls. “I’ll be glad when this stage of my life is over. Everyone is calling and checking in on me. They think I’ve kicked it if I don’t answer the phone right away,” she said. He chuckled a little because he already knew about the call schedule.
Then a few minutes later, “What are they going to do about it if I do kick it, anyway? There’s not a damn thing any of them can do. When it’s your time, it’s your time.”
Now though? I think that she enjoys, or maybe just graciously allows, the intrusion into her daily routine by the brood she claims as her own.
Tate and I have Mondays.
We drop Finnegan off to school and go over and have breakfast with her. Tate asks her for the 47th time just why Meme likes her oatmeal with milk and Craisins, when she likes hers more firm with brown sugar and cinnamon. Meme fills me in all of the family updates, including phone calls from my cousins in Chicago. She announces at least once each visit, how absurd it is that my aunt does her laundry when she’s quite capable of going down to the basement to do it herself. Oh, she gets it, she assures me, “They don’t want me going up and down the stairs with a basket. It’s just not necessary when, I can do it myself.” I tell her to enjoy it, humor her children, and to send Sue over to do mine if she doesn’t want the help.
The talk lately, is of March Madness. She’s not sure how she’s going to fill out her bracket, her past winning streak means she has a reputation to uphold. Let’s not forget the woe that her beloved Buckeyes stink this year. Priorities people, basketball is undoubtedly in her top three... we just aren’t sure if family comes before or after it. She asks about Bo-Bims, which is what she calls my sister, and fields in depth questions from her great granddaughter about if she really knows Aunt Punka and just how she does. Apparently, she is satisfied by Meme’s answers and I am convinced that Lyndsey will never be called her real name by anyone, but me.
Tate has already moved on to the entertainment portion of our visit and twirls her way through the living room. She pairs the excited whirligig with non-stop chatter about her imaginary sister, Heinje. “We’re ice dancing! Me and Heinje are the best ice dancers!” Meme agrees and pays for the performance with a belly full of Club crackers. Then she makes a power play when I answer the phone, she turns on Disney channel for her. When I raise an eyebrow, she simply pretends in her old age that she doesn’t see me because she’s concentrating on the remote buttons. I now know where her loyalties lie. They sometimes draw funny things and Meme tries to convince her to tell everyone that she is TQ’s great-grandmother, not because of her age, but her excellence. “Tate, you can just tell everyone you call me that because I am so GREAT! Don’t you think?”
Yep, Meme. We kinda do.