My mom and I negotiate each other pretty well, as it turns out. She's recognizing my need to be able to do as many things for myself as I can (which on a good day makes me feel great, and on a day when it's been several hours since my last Vicadin, makes me feel like I'm on the special bus: "Good for you Sarah! You can pick up your socks with your toes!"). As much as possible, she's letting me do for myself. There are non-negotiables, like supervised middle of the night bathroom trips, but a few days ago she said to me, "You just tell me when you need my help, and otherwise I'll let you do things on your own."
"Perfect," I replied, as it was.
Then a few hours later as I reached across the table for the remote: "You just let me know, and I'll help you."
"Yes. Awesome. Thank you."
And then again, as I counted out seven and a half Coumadin: "You just tell me whenever you need my help."
Really very adorable and mom-like, and we laughed pretty hard when I pointed out to her that it was the third time she had told me that I could tell her if I needed help. Honestly I think she's showing a lot of restraint.
Then my brother came over that evening (he and his fiance are leaving for California; I'm selfishly sad to lose them but excited for their L.A. adventure) and mom asked him several times if he wanted anything to eat. (I guess if you're a mom you never think that your kids are not hungry?)
"Mom," I said, "Maybe the rule that we established today would work for Matt too."
"What rule?" Matt asked.
"I don't get to ask any questions," she said meekly.
Which about put me on the floor laughing. And it has come to be our code: when she instinctively reaches out to take the top off the medicine bottle that I'm holding and then catches herself and pulls her arm back, or when she goes to take something out of a drawer that I can now trundle over to on my own, I remind her - "Don't ask any questions."
Of course, my growing independence has its drawbacks. It's not such a bad thing to be completely waited on hand and foot, have your meals brought to you on a tray, your back rubbed, your sudoku handed to you with the pencil already attached to the book... now when there's something I can easily manage on my own, like refilling my water bottle, I feel sort of lame still asking my mom to do it for me. I tell myself that she wants to do it. Matt said that when she's done here she can come to L.A. and take care of him.
In other news, I went outside for the first time yesterday since I got back from the hospital. Those of you here in NYC know what a perfectly beautiful day it was. I walked about 50 yards up the street with my walker (Visiting Nurse Mike said that the walker's good for outside; people see it and get out of your way) and then turned around and came back inside and took a big nap. Standing up for long periods of time is still hard - I can handle about 15-20 minutes before I get tired. To feel the breeze and the sun on my face was amazing. As my friend Eve said today when she came over to visit, "I remind myself to go skip outside in my flip-flops because there are some people who can't". So stop reading this and go outside! It's spring!
Outside with Matt and Marla, and clean hair: