A Mind of Her Own

Every Sunday we call my mother-in-law to see how she’s doing.  She lives in Connecticut while we live states away in Virginia, and though we are certainly closer than we were when we lived in San Antonio, it is still a nine-hour drive to get to see her.  We’ve managed to make that drive nearly every three or four months since we moved here two and a half years ago, but the older Mom gets, the more time we wish we could spend with her.

She will be eighty-five years old this year.  Whenever we talk to her, though, we find fewer reasons to worry about her.  She seems to have life under control.  Take this most recent conversation with her:

“Hi, Mom.  What’s new?”

“I was baking my honey cake to take to church, and my oven gave up right in the middle.  I had to go to the store and buy a poppy seed cake.”

“Oh, no!  Guess you’ll have to have it fixed.”

“No, I’m not going to fix it.  It’s been fixed once already.  It’s too old, just like me.”

“So you’ll have to buy another one.  At least it’s a wall oven, so you don’t have to replace the whole stove.”

“No, I’m not buying another oven.  Why do I need another oven at my age?  I have the microwave and my stove and my little toaster oven.  That’s all I need.  From now on, I’m not cooking for anybody (my husband’s three sisters and their families live near her).  No roast beef for them.  Let them eat ham.  That’s all I’m making for them.  Just ham.”

“Good idea, Mom.  If they call and want to come over for a big dinner, you just have to say, ‘Oh, I’m so sorry, but I don’t have an oven anymore.  I can’t cook for you.’  Maybe they’ll take you out to eat.”

“Susie, I like the way you think!”

Yes, Mom may be old, but she’s feisty!

My mother-in-law and me

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About Coming East

I am a writer, wife, mother, and grandmother who thinks you're never too old until you're dead. My inspiration is Grandma Moses who became a successful artist in her late 70's. If I don't do something pretty soon, though, I'll have to find someone older for inspiration.
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23 Responses to A Mind of Her Own

  1. Use the cataracts to your advantage (shhh… maybe pajama days isn’t reading this) and get whatever you can out of it for as long as you can. Congrats on the freshly Pressed, what a wonderful choice you were for them to highlight. Loved the post, made me think of my grandmother.

  2. Oh happy day! I love your posts and blog and so I just nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award. If you choose to accept my nomination, the strings that come attached are well worth the recognition. Do you accept my nomination?
    Here are the rules:
    1. You must create a blog about your acceptance in which you mention that I nominated you, you accept, and provide a link to my site.
    2. Give 7 random facts about yourself.
    3. Provide the links to 7 blogs YOU wish to nominate for this award.
    4. Notify each blogger that you nominated them and ask them if they want to accept the award. If they do, just share the rules with them.

    Keep up the excellent work. You have a loyal follower and I hope you get many more from this gesture.

    All the best, Lorna

    • comingeast says:

      Wow! You don’t even know me and you’re willing to nominate me? Thanks a bunch! I just received that award about a month ago, but I don’t know how to put that symbol on my page so someone would know it if they haven’t been following my blog. I need my daughter to help me! LOL. I would gladly accept, but I’d be saying the same things about me. That is so nice of you to think of me. Makes my day!

  3. Sarah Batool says:

    love the way she thinks 😉
    I just love the way you tell small stories from your life 🙂 they inspire, make me laugh and tell how simple and beautiful life is!

  4. E.C. says:

    Your Mil sounds a delightful lady. I’m so glad she’s so feisty and independent at her age. That’s such a blessing. This post made smile. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  5. Leah says:

    Very nice piece. Reminds me of my grandmother who passed away many years ago. She had a mind of her own and was proud of it.

  6. It always stumps me…how do people as old as 85 live on their own? All alone in a house? In India (where I hail from), there’s now way someone over the age of, say 65 or 70, gets to live all by himself. Usually they are too frail by then to do things on their own. Kudos to your grandma for being such a strong individual.

    • comingeast says:

      I’m sure not everyone is as fortunate as my mother-in-law, but she seems quite the norm here in the U.S. That’s how I want to be, too, so she’s an inspiration. Thanks for your comment. It was very insightful.

  7. huffygirl says:

    My mom would do the same kind of things at 85 – suddenly declare that she was “85 years old and too old to do _____ anymore, and anybody who didn’t like it too, bad.” She also would throw her age around to her advantage – she’d get delivery people to carry things in the house with her “…I’m 85 years old and ….” So funny. Is this what we have to look forward to? When she decides she wants that oven for something she wants, she’ll get it fixed.

    • comingeast says:

      My husband and I both read your comment and were cracking up. I’m making bets with my daughter on how long before my mother-in-law buys a new oven. I’ll keep you posted. As for throwing our age around to our advantage, when I was the academic dean of a large middle school whose halls were always crowded, I would yell, “Old lady coming through!” and the waters parted. Love the story of your mom!

  8. I love her sass. She reminds me of my grandmother… though my grandmother would have insisted on a new oven – the best – so that her daughter could cook. 🙂 Congrats on the FP, by the way!

    • comingeast says:

      I love that thought about your grandmother! And she would have been right—it was time the younger family members pampered her for awhile. Thanks for commenting.

  9. Emily says:

    I can totally hear this conversation. She is hilarious.

  10. She sounds wonderful! And smart! You’re so lucky!

  11. Hmm…I like her style. Good for her! I think I might have to try that, tell everyone my oven doesn’t work!

    • comingeast says:

      My eye doctor just told me I have started to develop cataracts, but they are so small, they hardly register. I know it will take many years before I’ll need surgery. Do you think I can say, “Sorry I can’t do that (cook, clean, drive, whatever!) because I don’t see too well” for all those years?

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