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      Mothering your mom

      When a couple exchange wedding vows ??for better or for worse, in sickness and in health,?? those words often apply many decades later, long after the wedding photos fade and crackle. That promise of fidelity through good times and in bad frequently extends to the couple's children, when the roles are reversed and they have to care for their aging parents.

      I have a friend who is caring for her mother. It's a struggle for both of them. Mom would rather be in her own home, but she's really not capable of handling her own day-to-day needs. Daughter would rather Mom be in her own home, but she would never shirk her responsibility to her mother. Mom gets testy, Daughter gets snappy and their mutual household suffers bouts of strained relationships.

      This friend of mine an found an essay on the website springintheair.com that puts this inter-generational conflict into perspective. It's a letter from an elderly mother to her daughter:

      "My dear girl, the day you see I??m getting old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all, try to understand what I??m going through.

      If when we talk, I repeat the same thing a thousand times, don??t interrupt to say: ??You said the same thing a minute ago??... Just listen, please. Try to remember the times when you were little and I would read the same story night after night until you would fall asleep.

      When I don??t want to take a bath, don??t be mad and don??t embarrass me. Remember when I had to run after you making excuses and trying to get you to take a shower when you were just a girl?

      When you see how ignorant I am when it comes to new technology, give me the time to learn and don??t look at me that way ... remember, honey, I patiently taught you how to do many things like eating appropriately, getting dressed, combing your hair and dealing with life??s issues every day.

      If I occasionally lose track of what we??re talking about, give me the time to remember, and if I can??t, don??t be nervous, impatient or arrogant. Just know in your heart that the most important thing for me is to be with you.

      And when my old, tired legs don??t let me move as quickly as before, give me your hand the same way that I offered mine to you when you first walked.

      When those days come, don??t feel sad... just be with me, and understand me while I get to the end of my life with love. I??ll cherish and thank you for the gift of time and joy we shared. With a big smile and the huge love I??ve always had for you, I just want to say, I love you ... my darling daughter. "Happy Mother's Day!

      Take care~Sarah D.