My mother was recently hospitalized. As always, with admission comes stress and anxiety. We spent many hours in the emergency room before they decided to admit her, wondering and worrying.
So, of course, my sister and I got a little slap-happy.
My mom’s feet were cold, despite the fact that she was swathed in four heated blankets. “I told you to grab my socks,” our tenacious mother reminded us every five minutes. We asked multiple medical professionals, but believe it or not, they had more pressing things to do than attempt to locate a pair of nonexistent emergency socks.
So in desperation, I started rifling through drawers and cupboards in the examination room. I didn’t find socks, but I did find boxes of rubber gloves on the wall and said to my sister, “Maybe I should use these.”
We must have been exhausted, because that was hilarious to us. The thought of the doctor coming in and discovering our mom’s feet looking like cobalt-blue duck appendages made us cackle. My mother, who has a wicked sense of humor when she isn’t having emergency medical issues, didn’t even open her eyes but murmured, “Do it.”
I’d like to say I’m mature and refrained from covering my mom’s feet with snug rubber finger slots, but I laughed so hard that I cried as we shimmied those rubber gloves onto her feet like mothers o -the brides shimmying their curves into Spanx.
Had anything ever been that funny? Um, definitely. This was silly, childish nonsense. But our mom, who was weak and exhausted, still managed to giggle like a toddler as we rushed to finish before getting busted by “real” adults.
Ultimately, the gloves proved too tight and we had to remove them before ever experiencing the joy of shocking a doctor. After extensive commiseration, we decided her circulation was more important than our gag and begrudgingly set her feet free.
But it reminded me that even though we’re mothers now, we are still our mom’s little kids. When my sister and I get together and revert to our childish selves, it tickles her. How had we missed the importance of that as she’s grown older? My college-aged kids are the exact same way for me. When we all get together, my boys — I'm looking at you, Matt, Tyler and Joe — act like obnoxious morons. And I love it.
They re-up forgotten home run derby competitions in the backyard, open childhood video games on an antiquated Playstation 2 and trash talk like it matters, and generally behave as if they are middle-school kids again.
To a stranger, they are adults acting like silly — and deafeningly loud — children. But to me, they are home again. They are my babies, acting the way they did in the golden years of their childhood. Bring on the idiotic behaviors because they warm this mom’s heart.
Moving forward, I need to remember this. My idiocy can be a gift for my mom, right? I always knew it would serve a useful purpose. So no matter how serious things may be, I vow to always treat my mother with respect — and a generous portion of immature tomfoolery.
Bring it on.
Lynn Kirkle is a writer and lives in Omaha with her husband and five children. She writes twice a month for momaha.com, and can be found on Twitter @LAPainter.