I haven’t written for a couple of weeks since I have been in the midst of the rather overwhelming process of buying a house. It’s been several months coming but I was not really certain that I was ready to take the plunge until I made the offer.
I went and signed Mom and I up for living the foreseeable future in a 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom house with a rather nice patio. It’s something that I have been considering since I sold Mom’s house to have her come live with me. She has not been the biggest fan of the city apartment life though she has enjoyed some aspects, like when the St Patrick’s Day parade flowed by our windows a couple of months ago. She talked about that for days! But here we have street noise and not a spot of green out the windows and I question whether it’s the best place for a woman who lived most of her life in a comfortable house in the suburbs.
So, we are compromising between what I perceive to be her preferences and my own with a modest house on a cul de sac that is still central to the city. I will be able to bus to work and walk to a farmer’s market, hardware store and a couple of bookstores. Mom will be able to take walks around our neighborhood with me in the evening by trees and elegant houses… and possibly make it as far as one of the local ice cream shops. And we will be able to fix up the house a bit which should tap into her previous life as an interior designer. She already had comments on the house’s curtains so I know we are in for an adventure on house decorating!
Buying a house would be a big enough commitment under normal circumstances, but in this particular moment it feels all the more complicated. Is this really the right place for Mom to do the rest of her aging? I cannot know for sure, but it’s the best guess I have right now. So, I plopped my money down and committed.
Mom was always a polished woman. Her hair was dyed and coiffed, makeup smooth, nails long, red and shiny. She likes to match colors and usually had shoes, purse, belt and earrings all neatly coordinated. Even in the early stages of memory loss, she maintained this level of appearance.
Now it is a lot harder. She no longer drives, and amidst everything else that I do, I have not taken Mom to a salon for a while. For the first time in her life, the grey is seriously showing. I no longer take her to a nail place so she paints her own nails at home and does not do the best job of it. It’s a dilemma to me whether I should prioritize this more given her self image of a lifetime. Or whether it’s okay to let this go on the not quite as important list. Hair and nails are lower on my personal priority list but Mom was always different from me in this way. I wonder what others do about this particular issue. Sometimes I tell her we should go get this done and she says that she will do it tomorrow, or next week, or that she needs to let it grow more before getting it done. This last response from her confuses me so I just let it be.
With the delays in visiting a salon her hair is growing out a bit and Mom is getting more creative with her hair styles. I bought her a pack of different colored headbands and she likes to match them to her outfit. She also found some hair clips and uses them quite generously. I find it really cute but I don’t know that “cute” is her ideal look at almost 70.
We have agreed that I am taking her to a holiday party in a couple of weeks and this discussion led to an immediate assessment from her that she needed to get her hair done. I think she is right. The party will be the biggest social event she has attended in a long time. Good hair is a solid start. Maybe we will get bright red manicures together too.