Today I had an interesting experience with my mother. My mom and I were grocery shopping at Kroger. When it came time to pay for her groceries, she started to freak out. I looked behind me to find a frazzled woman throwing things out of her pocketbook and hollering crazy sounds like a mad man: “I can’t find it. Where did I put it? I know it’s here. It has to be here? Where can it be?”
“What’s going on?” I asked her, trying to stay calm.
“I lost my banking card. How will I pay for the groceries? Oh my God, what if someone stole it and they used all my money!”
They were all valid reasons to be frightened in a world where identity theft for an elderly person is not only quite probable, but very likely. I took her hand and asked her to let me help her look.
We scoured the purse. I never knew there could be so many compartments with things wrapped in tissue in them—things I was afraid to unwrap. Then I found them—about 25 of my business cards. She had been collecting them from when I first started making the first design ten years ago. It was a like walking through time, sifting through them, looking for her banking card.
A sweet moment turned into a sad one, when I realized that her card was, indeed, nowhere in her purse or wallet. “I’ll pay for the groceries, Mom, and we’ll take care of checking other places when we get you home.”
She was breathing heavy. When your 80-year-old mother suffered a triple by-pass a year before, you start to worry about the times that make her weary and disoriented. I took her by the arm and led her to the car, trying to ease her mind. “I’m sure we’ll find it.”
When we got home, we looked in all the places it could have been, and still no card. My mother was becoming desperate. She was calling herself stupid now, which in my house is not something you do. There had been enough name calling my whole life for ten life times. We are all humans who make human mistakes.
I told her about the three times I left my credit card at a bar because the bartender had taken to start a tab. As I wasn’t used to that, I just left without it. (I left out the part that I was a little too tipsy to remember it.) But it was easily recovered, once I remember what I did with it.
So, I asked her where the last place she used the bankcard. It turned out she had used it at Walmart. She couldn’t get it to work in the machine and asked the cashier to help her. She must have forgotten to get the card back from him.
So, we called Walmart. Low and behold, the card was there, and everything is back to homeostasis.
I learned a lot about my mother today and about myself. I saw a time go by when my father or her stepfather would have degraded her and called her names for being so irresponsible….
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