“Hello?” my mom says.
“Hi, Mom!” I always try to sound excited whenever I call.
“Oh, hi Beth,” she says. Then she turns away from the phone, and I hear her say, in a whisper, “It’s my daughter.”
“Who are you talking to, Mom?”
“Oh, just the nice lady in the bed next to me,” she says.
“Do you want to keep talking to her?”
“Oh… no, that’s okay. I’ll talk to you for a little while,” she says, sounding not quite as excited as she usually does when speaking with me. Seems she’s making friends.
I’m so glad she’s finding a place for herself at Hebrew Home. Still, I’m feeling a twinge of sadness because she appears to need me just a little less.
I’m like a parent who, with mixed emotions, watches her child grow up, become more independent, and leave her behind. But I have to remind myself my mom’s not maturing, learning how to make her way in the world. She’s preparing to leave it, or to enter a different world, one that may not have a place for me, or anyone else who’s real, in it.
But she hasn’t left us yet.
“Why don’t you call me tomorrow night?” she says, five minutes into our conversation. There’s a real person sitting right next to her, and she wants to talk.