Saturday, April 26, 2008

Mother's Day

Mother’s Day
by Ilene Pattie

At 8:20 next Sunday my brother Don will pull his old Ford station wagon into my driveway to take me to DFW airport to catch a 10:30 plane. My big white cat, Charlie, will be sitting in the front window looking at me accusingly, as if to say, “She’s abandoning me again.”

I am flying to Philadelphia to meet my daughter, Martha, coming from Chicago to spend a week with me at an Elderhostel seeing Pennsylvania gardens. We’ll go to Longwood and Winterthur and spend a day with the Amish. What a wonderful way to celebrate Mother’s Day!

I don’t feel a bit guilty about leaving Charlie alone to wander forlornly about the house shedding white hair on my blue couch and throwing up hair balls on the carpet. My wonderful neighbor, Pat Price, will come in once a day to see he has dry food in his bowl. I love Charlie. I put up with his hair on all my clothes when he climbs up on my lap when I watch tv. Especially I feel a surge of joy when I come from the senior center, and he is waiting right inside the door, where I almost trip over him as I step inside the house. But he is just a cat.

I never thought I could feel so nutty about an animal. My friends Charles and Florence. had vicious schnauzer, who bit everyone who came in the house. When the dog died, Charles, overcome with grief, saw a psychiatrist who prescribed antidepressants. They adopted a little white poodle. Then they would not come to the senior center for lunch because Pierre barked constantly while they were away.

For Charles and Florence, their dogs were their children. They had no one else on which to lavish their fortune and their love. As Charles approached his 90th birthday without a will, I urged him to see a lawyer. He saw an attorney and “took care of the most important thing,” arranging an enormous sum for an organization which promised to care for the dog after he and Florence died. He made no provision for his wife, who had Alzheimer’s. He finally made a will two weeks before he died. Florence now lives in a luxurious facility with Pierre at her side. The carpet had to be replaced with linoleum, as the dog puddles constantly.

I am grateful that I have children instead of a dog. Martha will take time off from her job (she’s a CPA), leaving behind a husband and three sons, to fly a thousand miles to spend a week with her mother. That’s the best Mother’s Day gift ever!