A Mensch Buys Karma…


“You can’t buy karma” a friend recently told me.

Buy it…?  I replied, hell, I’m investing heavily in it!  Perhaps…

I probably come across, at least in the social media sphere, as a bit of a mensch.  Of course, I like that identity, but it’s not the whole story.

A year ago, I invited my mother to live with me.  This would be a win/win scenario.  I would be proximate to her and able to assist her with increasing needs as she ages.  In return, she would be able to clean up after me, do my dishes, cook, and split the utilities.  I win – again and again, hence, win/win.

And I do look out for her.  I make her coffee each morning, and bring the paper to her in bed.  I take her to Walmart, on the occasional casino trip, and I accompany her to all medical appointments.  When called upon, I do the heavy lifting around the house, and any carrying she requires. So, mensch!

But that’s not the whole story…

Yesterday, as I grew frustrated with a question she asked repeatedly, I threatened to shove a tennis ball in her mouth and wrap her head in duct tape if she spoke so much as another word.  I’m not sure the people behind us in the checkout line took this seriously, but when mom rolled her eyes and threated to beat my butt, I think they understood my threat was one of endearment.

That’s become my persona with her.  Whenever mom says something asinine, which might be every hour or so, I point my finger toward her nose and say something like…

…I’ve got two words for you, woman:  Nursing Home!

She always responds with, “I’ll beat your butt!”  or the more resolute, “I’m the parent here!!!as she stares me down.

I joke with my mom quite a bit like this – too much, I’m sure.  On a deeper level I know this bothers her, and in some ways, might even hurt her, but I keep doing it.  It’s how I cope with the frustrations of helping someone who is aging, forgetful, and doesn’t process as quickly as she once did.  She isn’t ready to let go the control of her life – or even loosen up the grip a bit, and I don’t blame her.

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Despite the often sharp and serrated edges that can accompany my sarcasm and humor, I appreciate that she acknowledges and puts up with my frustrations.  Viscerally, I know that she recognizes that the real love is in the bringing of the coffee, the doctor’s visits, and the trips to Walmart when I would rather be hiking.

This isn’t always easy for either one of us, but at the end of the day there’s a lot of love in the house, and that’s good enough for me.

“You can’t buy karma” a friend recently told me.

Maybe not.  Perhaps the best we can hope to do is to purchase good field position…  Jhciacb

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14 responses

  1. This is great!! Love the relationship you two have!

    There have been times where I’ve walked that line with my patients in the hospital, and it has always gone over well. Outsiders, however, hearing me, have told me I needed to have better bedside manner. Haha!

    Several years ago, I read about a friend of mine, a female middle school science teacher, that duct taped a students mouth shut. Did not go over well with the school administration.

  2. Way to work on a balance. Our road trip a year ago I witnessed the Loving Banter between yous two. Willie can dish out The Southern Smack Down !
    You’re a Good Son. Mensch in honor and Dignity for your Mama.

  3. Always remember what mom went through with you and you now are, in turn, going through with her. I know no specific memories, just making assumptions. 🙂 I will owe my own mom and dad a great deal of assistance when that time comes for everything they’ve done (and continue to do) for me. That being said, living with that realization that everything comes full circle doesn’t automatically make things any easier to endure. Life is hard sometimes…a lot of times. Laughter truly is the best medicine.

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