I stop by to visit Mom and Dad. The end table by Mom’s chair is covered in wrappers and half eaten granola bars. Carnation Instant Breakfast powder is also sprinkled all over the table. Kleenexes are wadded up and thrown around the table and the floor. There’s always something to clean by Mom’s chair.
Mom is sleeping sitting up in the love seat, her head tilted over to where Dad’s shoulder had been. I read through a catalog for Dad, as he picks out books on cartridges from the Library for the Blind. (God bless them.) Eventually we wake Mom and I clean her up and change her.
I sing, “Oh we ain’t got a barrel of…”
Mom says, “…money.”
“Maybe we’re ragged and…”
Mom adds, “…funny.”
“But we’ll travel along…”
Usually Mom will add, “…singin’ a song…” But this time she pipes in with, “…doin’ nothin’!” We both laugh.
We sit on the edge of the bed and talk for a while. I point to the pictures of her children on the wall by her mirror. I tell her who they all are. She repeats each name after I say them, as If they are a new thing to learn.
We go back to the living room and Mom sits next to Dad again, on the love seat. Her hand is tucked around Dad’s arm and her head is on his shoulder. I clean up the mess around her chair and wipe down the table. There’s always something to clean up by Mom’s chair.
But someday, I know, the messes won’t be there. And the table will stay unreasonably neat and clean. And then what will I do?
I take another long look at Mom, with her head on Dad’s shoulder, before I walk out the door.