I’m an Old Lady and It’s My Husband’s Fault…by Betty Mason Arthurs
I turned 70 years this month, but when did I turn old? Now I remember and how could I forget? My husband John pushed me over the edge and into an ancient abyss reserved for people like Moses and Mrs. Noah…really, really old folks.
I’ll try to make a short story even longer to fill up the required words for this posting.
A few months ago I was in the hospital for another surgery, this time on my right ear. After decades of hearing problems due to childhood bouts of measles and infections, a CT scan confirmed some weird tissue had taken over my inner ear and was migrating to my brain. Only I could come up with a freaky excuse for an expert ear surgeon to craft a new inner ear, save my hearing and my brain. The dreaded curse of old age is that I’m falling apart and I blame my DNA, the fumes from my cats’ litter box, and Kansas tornadoes of my childhood.
My husband John wheeled me into check-in at the fine hospital. Soon our daughter Julie and son Rob would arrive to support us. Meanwhile, the young nurse, Ali, got me all settled in the “space suit” which would comfort me and make me hot as blazes while pumping me up in a cushion of air. She asked the normal, tiresome questions and tapped the answers into the bedside computer. John helped to answer facts about my medical history, “Well, Mom, isn’t it true you were on antibiotics last week? And, Mom, a month ago the doctor ordered a chest x-ray?” Mom this and Mom that. He was just so irritatingly helpful.
John has called me “Mom” ever since Julie and Rob were born…maybe it’s because he was born in Pennsylvania and it’s a folksy way of connecting a child with her/his mommy, but who knows why.
When nurse Ali said to me, “I’m all done with the questions. Your son can stay here as long as he likes,” we knew John had innocently bamboozled her. Can we say it was this nurse’s most embarrassing moment?
I couldn’t stop laughing. It was just what I needed to break my stress and fear. John, ever so kind, explained, “I’m her husband, not her son. I’ve called her Mom since our kids were born.” And still I laughed.
Red-faced and flustered Ali apologized and flew out of the room.
In a few minutes our daughter Julie arrived. Another nurse, Jennifer, came in to start my IV and then tapped more info. into the computer. She turned and saw Rob wave as he walked into my room. “Oh, here’s the real son!”
Since John still has dark brown hair, maybe it’s time to color my white hair to a lovely purple or orange, get a rose tattoo, wear short-shorts, bring back my miniskirts from the 70s…anything to help me look younger than John. But I really like being called “mom” and being a grandma of eight, I like being called “Gammy,” so named by my first grandson who also told me, “You’re just so cute!” Soon we’ll have a great-granddaughter. They say, “truth hurts” but for me, it only hurts for a short time. I’ll be mom and grandma forever.
Rob and his wife, Heather, and their children gave me a birthday card with the caption: Where would we be without you, Mom? One of us wouldn’t exist and the other would be married to some loser.
We laughed and laughed over the card’s sentiment. It’s not bad living for seven decades when I’ve been so blessed by God in spite of all the problems life throws at me and our family and friends. And my ear surgery was successful because I just heard John call me, “Mom.”
The Bible offers comfort:
Even to your old age I am He, and even to hair white with age will I carry you. I have made, and I will bear; yes, I will carry and will save you. (Isaiah 46:4 AMP)