"Look who's taking care of who now..."

My mother is settling in to her apartment at the assisted living center.  The change was hard, and was stressful for all concerned.  My sister and I took turns staying with Mom for a couple of nights, just to make sure she felt comfortable.

The second night she was there was a tough one.  She was angry and overwhelmed; didn't like the food, didn't like the staff, didn't like the medication schedule.  She didn't know how to work her TV and felt angry about that.  I could tell that she was upset, and that she didn't want to be in such turmoil.  She was mourning the changes in her life.  How well I understood her disorientation.

We talked about the years she spend taking care of the four of us - Dad, my two siblings, me - and she looked up at me from her recliner:  "Look who's taking care of who now."

The appreciation I feel for the love and care our parents took in raising us and teaching us how to live as respectful human beings is deep.  Mom often apologizes for "causing trouble."  My sister, brother, and I tell her over and over that she is no trouble.  How many sleepless nights did she spend taking care of us?  How many meals did she make, how many loads of laundry?  I look back on all the tears she dried and the words of comfort and wisdom she dispensed, and I feel privileged that I can give back to her a tiny bit of what she has given me.

Mom and I prayed together that second night.  She felt some better, and was less angry when she went to bed.  It was an answer to everyone's prayers when she attended the church service on Sunday afternoon; she enjoyed it so much, and expressed her joy at having the opportunity to worship so close to home.

I called Mom last night to see how her day had gone.  I am battling a cold, so she prayed for me over the phone.    "Hey," I said, "Look who's taking care of who now."


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