My husband and I have the good fortune of living with my 90 year old mother. She is kind, sweet, and as helpful as she can be in her frail, petite, aging frame. We’re grateful for her company in our lives, and acknowledge that we are blessed, especially now as my husband prepares to face the first Mother’s Day celebration without his own dear mother, who passed away this past October.

My mom can be a joy, as well as a real hoot — a hoot in the way that only elderly parents can be.

My mother eats Cheerios 11 at a time. That’s right, the phenomenon of a shrinking stomach, and therefore shrinking appetite, occurs with aging. Breakfast for Mom each morning consists of a bowl of 11 Cheerios, a few drops of milk, and fresh coffee. Pouring out any fewer Cheerios for her (say, maybe 8) results in the “I’m hungry!” exclaim that much sooner, and pouring out any more (say, like 15) results in feeling “too full.” Since my three pets combined eat like captive, hungry prisoners everyday, this is good news for me. What I save in cereal I well make up for in dog food and cat food.

Evidently, this itty-bitty senior breakfast phenomenon gives way eventually to the practice of having pre-lunch, followed by an actual lunch a short while later. Suffice it to say that my kitchen sees a lot of action, which leads me to my next point…

My mother enjoys “early-bird” dinner — or as I like to call it, “lunch.”  No matter the day, occasion, or what we all may have had to eat earlier in a given day, dinner is best served, well, as a late lunch. The ever stressful “what will be cooking tonight?” conversation generally begins over afternoon coffee. Enough said.

My mother enjoys “early-bird” dinner — or as I like to call it, “lunch.”

Announcements and proclamations that begin with “I’ll just use a knife,” or, “I just used a knife to do it.” Upon first hearing this long ago I nearly went into Ricky Riccardo mode, wanting to say with a Cuban accent and all that “Mom, you have some splaining to do.”  As it turns out, any knife Mom finds in the kitchen utensils drawer, expensive or not, has hundreds of uses. Who knew?

Is the foot-lock on my backyard door jammed again? Open it with a knife. Did you think the slice of toast stuck in the toaster would stay stuck for long? Not a chance! Rambo, I mean – excuse me, Mom got that toast out, with the toaster still plugged in, using a handy dandy knife. Pesky jar top not opening, despite using the rubber-thingy designed to open pesky jar tops? Well, not a problem, Mom got it open with a knife. Can’t get the back of the damn TV remote control open in order to change the batteries? Mom’ll just use a knife.

Pesky jar top not opening, despite using the rubber-thingy designed to open pesky jar tops? 

Gotta replant some plants with that giant 30+ lb. bag of potting soil and don’t care to be bothered to use the assigned gardening supplies? Funny thing! The knife opens the bag and can also be used to stir up the freshened soil and newly repotted plants. Misplaced that silly letter opener? Clearly, a knife will do.

Extra company coming to join us for dinner? Great! We’ve got plenty of knives to go around. Yep, they’re all clean. I officially check them. And that loose tooth that’s been bothering me for a little too long? Whoah, hang on now. Did you really think I would make my toothache public knowledge?

Coming in my next segment… “The Perils and Pitfalls of Couponing”, “When BINGO Goes Bad,” “Our Bathrooms – Our Selves,” and more!!