Thursday, September 29, 2011

Listening 101

I went to visit my mother today and made a miraculous discovery about myself. Whether I tell my children about this discovery is yet to be determined.

I hadn't planned on visiting my mother today, however, I didn't want her to sit through another gloomy, rainy morning all by herself. The rain depresses her and at 91, it is hard for her to 'get going' when she wakes up to a dull and dreary morning.

I headed out after my boys went to school. When I arrived, the hands on the clock were motioning me to have breakfast, so I pulled an English Muffin from my bag, along with Nutella, yogurt and Life Water. After I prepared my toasted muffin, smothered with butter and Nutella, we sat in the living room while I leisurely ate my morning meal.

When I visit with my mother I always intend on doing at least one task she is unable to accomplish, however, her intentions are different. She just wants me to sit with her and visit. Since we see each other often we have a tendency to run out of things to talk about, but we always manage to make our conversations work, even if she repeats herself from the prior nights phone conversation.

Today I asked her if there was anything I could do for her and she remarkably said "YES." I knew she hadn't vacuumed and thought I might be dancing with her upright, but I was wrong. She asked me, "How would you like to cut my hair?" Now this was going to be a challenge.

My mother, who doesn't care for my hair, is asking me to cut hers? Her only stipulation was that I not cut the hair around her ears too short. She has never like to show her ears, which I knew, and assured her I'd adhere to her wish. I should tell her that's why I keep my bangs long, I don't like my forehead to show!

I told her I would love to cut her hair, only to hear her reply, "Do you know how to cut hair?" Ya gotta love her. I told her she'd be okay, trust me mom, it can always grow back. "I just hope I don't have to use the kitchen sheers on your hair." She replied, "Let me go get the scissors your father use to use when he'd trim my hair." First off, I had no idea may father use to trim her hair, I would've paid extra for a front row seat to that show.

I ask if she'd like to have me cut her hair in the kitchen like old times. Back in the 60's, her neighbor, Ruthie Pratt, use to come to the house and give my mom a home perm. My mom and Ruth didn't have to go to a salon or spa, they'd pamper each other in our kitchen! What ever happened to those days?

She said she'd like to go out on the screened in porch, "It'll be easier to clean after you get done cutting."
As I moved a kitchen chair to the porch, she washed her hair in the kitchen sink. After taking her place in the chair she was now ready for the bath towel to be placed over her shoulders so I could start the procedure. Mind you, we could not find a safety pin big enough to hold the towel in place so we used a fancy paperclip brooch instead!

After she was seated, she handed me the scissors. I felt like these scissors were only pulled out for those special occasions. I put them in the same category as her pearls, the Thanksgiving china and Ladyfinger dinner rolls which were only to be served and eaten at my cousins bridal or baby showers back in the late 60's, early 70's. Then she said, "I can remember when your father use to cut the boys hair with these scissors." My reply, "Could you please repeat that."

My oldest brother is going to be 65 years old. I was astonished my parents still had the same scissors used on my brothers head 52 years ago. Now that I think about it, we never had garage sales. My parents basement is a belly full of nostalgia and every now and then it regurgitates something up from the past. I also couldn't believe these 52+ year old scissors were still razor sharp, proving to me that quality items do last for centuries. Now I'm wondering if I should get these babies over to the Antique Road Show, they're probably worth millions and I don't even know it!

I started cutting my mother's hair, drawing on all the different stylists who have cut my hair over the years and how they did it. Once I brought up a mental picture of them cutting my hair I was good to go. Did I know what I was doing, no, but my hands seemed to take over. I suddenly felt like Edward Scissorhands. What the hell her hair would look like afterwards was beyond me. I just hope I wasn't sculpting a poodle or rabbit sitting on top of her head.
When I finished cutting my mothers hair I asked her if she'd like me to set it in rollers and of course she took me up on my offer.  As I started in the house to get her rollers, she told me specifically where to look. "My rollers are in my bedroom underneath the stand where the telephone sits." Got it mom, "I'll be right back."

This is where I make the miraculous discovery about myself. 

I went into my mother's bedroom to retrieve her rollers. When I walked into the room, I immediately went to her table where her med's are, only to find no rollers. I then turned to my right and went to the sewing machine next to her bed. I said to myself, "Ah HA...... there are those rollers!" I was quite proud of my detective work, but noticed the bag I retrieved seemed rather heavy. I threw it up onto the bed, unzipped it and said to myself, "You've got to be kidding me." What I found was items for counted cross stitch! My mother can't read the newspaper without using a magnifying glass, why in the world does she have counted cross stitch in her bedroom? I stood in the middle of her 12 x 13 bedroom asking myself, "Phone?, there's no phone in her bedroom. The phone is in dad's room." As I carefully scanned the room, I found it. A small little stand tucked behind her door with a small little phone sitting in a base unit with a Wal-Mart bag full of rollers!

At that very moment, I realized I'm just like my children. They don't listen to me either when I ask them to get something for me from another room.

I have asked my boys to retrieve something for me in another room only to have them come back in and say, "Mom, it's not there" or "Mom, where did you say it was again?" And that's when I say, "You're not listening to me. Pay attention to what I tell you and for the love of God, please listen."

After my mother's hair was set, she said to me, "Did you have trouble finding my rollers? I was wondering, because I found my floral bag on the bed and it's usually under my sewing machine." At 52 year of age I still can't get away with anything and at my age I'm slipping, I forgot to cover my tracks.

I do remember her telling me her rollers were under the stand that her phone sits on, so why did I look in those two other places first? Maybe it's because I am still a kid around my mother and kids are suppose to mess up in front of their parents, no matter how old we are. The next time my boys come to me empty handed after I've asked them to bring me something, I will remember not to yell at them, it's quite obvious they take after me.

My mother later phoned me to tell me how nice her hair looks. She said she really liked the way I cut it and she also wanted to thank me for dancing with the vacuum throughout the house. 

What did I learn today in Listening 101?  I learned I should go easier on my boys when they come back to me empty handed. Instead of speaking to them, I'll just put my vacuum in that empty hand of theirs and tell them to have a fun time at the dance!

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