I walk in the door and see Mama in her rocking chair. “I’m here!” she says.
“I’m here, too, Mama.”
I warm up her chicken and rice and broccoli and cut it into smaller pieces and coax her over to the love seat so I can hold the bowl and help her as she eats. Her appetite is good, and she eats all her food.
I get Mama up and into the bedroom, so I can change her. She shouts and swears some and says she hates me. But I don’t believe her. I get her cleaned up and though she’s usually anxious to go find Dad, today she climbs into bed as I put away the supplies I used and wash up.
“Oh, so you want to take a nap? Should I take one with you?”
“Sure,” she says. I lie down facing her, and hug her and stroke her hair away from her face. But after a minute she starts shouting, “Go home! Go home!”
“You want me to go home?”
“I suppose so,” she answers. I turn over in bed so my back is to her, the way my Dad sleeps because of his sleep apnea mask. And now Mama cuddles up to me, with her head against my upper back, and puts her arm around me and gently taps my back and then my tummy, and it tickles a bit.
I’m guessing maybe she thinks I’m Dad now. But the pillow is soft, and the spot is cozy, and my Mama is tucking me in close to her like she did when I climbed in next to her as a little child. And for a few moments I’m back in my place of safety in a storm, where a mama’s love comforts away bad dreams and shadows in the night. I’m next to my mama, with her arm around me, where nothing can hurt me. Where the world is safe. Who knows when or if I’ll have this chance again?
So I snuggle in. And I hear Dad turn his audio book on in the living room, so loudly I can clearly hear it even though I’m on the other end of the house. And the fan blows a cooling breeze on me. And Mama pats my tummy and stays close.
I soak in the peaceful moments. I smell rain in the air through the open window. Mama says random words here and there and asks little questions that I don’t understand, but try to respond to.
And then, after fifteen minutes or so, Mama decides it’s time to get up. Our cuddle is over. I follow her into the living room and settle her in the love seat with her feet up on an ottoman. “I love you, Mama.”
“I love you, too,” she replies.
I lock the door as I leave. I hear thunder in the distance, as I get into my car. And as I drive home I think, how I’m thankful for these moments with Mama. And I’m grateful that she’s here. And that I am here, too, for every precious memory that we are still making.