Mom has lived with us since we returned to Colorado. She had been living across the street from my widowed sister-in-law and nephew. Mom had sold her restaurant business, emptied her house and shipped her life to San Diego after my youngest brother's death to be present for his five-year-old son.
As my nephew grew into his tweens, Mom called often, expressing loss of appetite, random pains and the heartache of being set adrift with nearby family who were occupied building lives. For Mom, super-charged on activity, extroverted to the extreme, life seemed to stop.
In 2000 Mom, Cece and I bought this house while Herb was working in Scotland. Colorado’s mountains and son Corin’s newborn 25 minutes away drew us. A Jack and Jill arrangement was perfect for incorporating Mom. She discovered the senior center where she socializes every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, sewing, knitting and playing shuffleboard. Mom single-handedly knits over a hundred caps and scarves each year for donations.
Living with Mom changed our lives. For teenaged Cece, it was the gift of a grandmother’s endless coddling. For me, wife, mother and daughter, I am challenged to defend new boundaries regularly. Mom took over the kitchen (a lament for another time) and grandmothering my grandsons. She can’t help herself, and my frontline has continuously eroded.
My girlfriend suggested dinner and a movie this weekend and invited Mom, too. I now define a new boundary: I can’t socialize with my friends with my mother. Enough is enough.