I suspect many of us have from time to time done our best to impress our parents. For me anyway, it seemed that they more than most deserved the effort. As a child it is not uncommon to see children performing for their parents, seeking their approbation. Even adult children are known to dedicate considerable labour to proving themselves in the eyes of their parents though the medium changes from an acrobatic trick to a professional choice.
Lately I have been doing my best to impress my mother. This time however the object of attention is not so much me as the apartment to which I am trying to motivate her to move. Essentially this is a downsizing enterprise, a transition from a 2-storey 4-bedroom home to a retirement residence. The objective has not been without its ups and downs. Yesterday for example we were openly discussing the move to the apartment and the sale of my mother’s house. Today on the other hand I was backed into the corner defending my actions as though I had supplanted my mother’s wishes with a hidden agenda calculated to ruin her life. This unfavourable twist came late in the day after I had spent a good deal of time in communication with the various people needed to make the shift happen successfully. My mother summarily dismissed my industry as a waste of money and something which I could easily reverse.
Naturally my mother’s fickle nature on this subject is understandable but it also reinforces the need for the evolution. I perceive that her memory and general health are daily declining and it would amount to egregious neglect to ignore the present need for planning for her future. Neither is it insignificant that she turns 89 years of age on June 12th next. Thus in spite of the accumulative number of things which have been orchestrated to arrange for this retirement residence for my mother, it is impossible to characterize its propriety as a mere matter of discretion. We are beyond choice. The decision has to be made or both the opportunity and the desirability of the move will be lost.
In spite of the clinical logic of the move I nonetheless continue to be plagued by the need to impress my mother even if her capacity to comprehend my dedication is diminished. Whatever else may affect the deduction to make the move at this time, the continuing thread is that I am determined to make the place look great. The Executive Director of the residence has even fanned the fires of my enthusiasm by noting her personal interest in seeing the result. I have perhaps spoken too glowingly of what I anticipate doing with the place! I may have to eat my words!
The basic apartment appeals to me. It is on the third floor so it captures a sense of reserve and security for that reason alone. Upon the suggestion of the Lifestyle Consultant I had a closet removed which separated the dining area from the living area. Now the light from the two windows in the living area will filter unimpeded throughout. The adjoining bedroom is effectively one large parallel room which also has two windows. I feel the place will be bright. The paint is a standard off-yellow or light brown colour which matches most other colours. The views out the windows are pleasant, a mixture of mature deciduous and coniferous trees, with partial views of the exterior stone siding on the building. The bathroom is spacious and the shower is easily accessible with an area for seating. The living area has hardwood floors; the bedroom area has broadloom.
As for furnishings we are taking exclusively mahogany and other hardwood furniture. The dining area will have a table, four chairs, small sideboard and a corner display cabinet (stocked with expensive china). A new Oriental-style rug will be on the floor under the dining table. A crystal fruit bowl and kettle will figure on the small counter space above the bar fridge (next to the tiny sink). We’ll stock enough cups and saucers, etc. for a tea party. On the walls will be a my mother’s portrait and other works of original art. The living area will have three smallish chairs, no couch, a walnut TV stand (with the CD player set on a shelf), a small games table and an oval display table. More original works of art. The lamps will all be brass or antique. There will be a Chinese rug in the centre of the living area. The bedroom will have the bed, side table, dresser, hi-boy, desk, chair and paintings. More lamps and paintings. We’ll deposit whatever knick-knacks seem appropriate.
Assuming the apartment decoration is suitable, it is likely the most compelling feature will be that it is all on one floor (that is, no stairs). While my mother purported to object to the move on the basis that she couldn’t prepare her own meals and that she would be obliged to go to the dining room to eat, the truth is that we’re uncertain how regularly she eats in any event. In all the time that I have visited my mother (which is virtually every day) the only time I have ever seen her eat anything was a muffin. She would still be able to put a muffin in her fridge. We have arranged to have the staff administer her medication daily. Laundry is located on the same floor as the apartment (unless mother prefers to have us arrange to have the staff take care of it).