Visiting Mom is not my priority this week, so I don't show up at her residence until 7 pm or so.
Earlier in the day I made a pre-op visit to the doctor for my upcoming surgery and went to a P.E.O. committee meeting, helping plan programs for meetings in the coming year. (I count P.E.O. time as time spent on Mom.)
When I arrive at her room, she is already showered, dressed in her nightgown, and resting in her recliner with her pink flannel blanket tucked up to her chin, watching an episode of I Love Lucy on the laptop computer propped up on a chair in front of her.
Her room is dark except for the glow of the computer screen in black and white. Connie stands by, cleaning up towels and things from the bath.
"Hi, Mom. How are you?" I begin. "I see you're watching Lucy."
"Yes--she's always so funny," Mom answers, her small face peeping out from the blanket that covers the rest of her. Her eyes are slits, barely open. She hardly turns her head to greet me, so completely is her attention absorbed by Lucy's antics.
A year ago I bought her a boxed set of 6 CDs of I Love Lucy, and watching them has become an evening ritual.
Tonight Lucy is trying to play the saxophone in order to get into Ricky's band and travel with him. She learned the saxophone in high school but can only play one song, squawkingly.
"That's like you with the oboe," I say. "That time the Telluride High School band went to the competition in Grand Junction, and the director told you not to play--just to pretend."
"Yes," says Mom, laughing. "'Don't you dare make a sound!' he told me."
I watch the show for a few minutes but leave shortly after.
She doesn't need me. She and Connie are perfectly happy.