|Today's letter is V.|
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"When I'm gone, you take care of your mother," the daddy suddenly said to me one evening. He did not wait for my response. He knew I would promise.
I was in my late 20s. At the time, the mama and I still clashed, mostly about what my life should be. At the time, I really didn't think I could ever live with her again. Several days was about all I could handle being around her.
Thirty years later, the husband and I have been living with the Mama for over seven years now. It took at least the first four years for each of us to get the hang of starting to live together. That's life. Nothing wrong with that.
The almost 90-year old Mama has slowed down. But only some. When she gets it in her head that she wants something done, she wants it done pronto, and she wants to do it by herself. Usually, she comes up with these projects while we're away. For instance, one morning she asked that we help her with the lemon tree after we finish breakfast. I thought she meant to prune it. So, when I went outside to check out what needed to be done, I saw a heavy branch hanging precariously over the back fence. What had she done? The day before she had tied a rope to the branch then hacked away at it with her trusty machete. She's very wicked with that machete. That's the mama.
It is with the small things that I do for her that I realize how much the mama had taken care of me.
When I was a small kid I wandered outside a lot. Every so often, the mama would call to me just to see where I am and if I am okay. Every now and then, I stick my head out the back door to see where the Mama is. "Mama!" I call when I can't see her. When she answers, I walk away. When she does not answer, I go looking for her.
She used to take my hand just before we cross the street. I do that now.
She mixed chocolate in my milk to make sure I would drink it. That is how I doctor her milk so she will drink it.
She tied my shoes; I help her slip into hers.