My mother may have lost much of her memory, but even now, there are certain phrases she has always said that she still remembers to say. Today I picked up mom to bring her to the dentist. Somehow she had lost her upper bridge of teeth a couple of months ago and we have been going to the dentist every couple of weeks to get them replaced. Taking her out is not as easy as it used to be now that she’s 92. I bring a step-stool with me so that she can “climb” into my minivan and her walker to help keep her steady between the van and our destination. Getting her in and out of the van has become a challenge, so when we finished with the dentist appointment, we again went to her favorite restaurant, McDonald’s. As we pulled up to the drive-thru window, my mother said, “What Do I Owe You?” They are words she has said countless times before and, as always, as she said them she reached for her pocketbook to find a few dollars. But the only thing in her pocketbook these days is tissues. I said, “Don’t worry, mom, I got it.” But I couldn’t help think of what those words really meant.
I thought of all she has done for me and my brothers and sister over the years. She brought us into this world and cared for us, she dressed us, fed us, worried about us, and loved us. Her words echoed in my head and my heart, “What Do I Owe You?”
Mom, it is me who owes you. Thank you for doing the best job you could. Thank you for being there when I came home from school every day, ready with a snack. Thank you for sneaking me past Dad when I came home from my High School Sorority Hell Night covered in molasses and chocolate syrup. Thank you for helping me when I had my babies. Thank you for all you have done for me through the years. You don’t owe me anything mom; I’m the one who owes you.
http://www.theresadodaro.com Author of The Tin Box Trilogy