Reversing Roles Without Turn Signals

Picture sitting in front of your computer, a steamy cup of ‘joe’ at your elbow and the scent of blueberry bagel slathered in cream cheese wafting gently beneath your nose.  You’ve been up for several hours and the story that has been withholding itself from you since the day before yesterday has finally conceded to make the twenty inch drop from your head to the key board beneath your fingertips.

Wildly your fingers fly over its painted keys, their rat-a-tat-tat message suddenly reminding you of the scene from “You’ve Got Mail” where Frank Navasky is trying to justify to Kathleen Kelly his purchase of yet another Olympic Rapid deLuxe typewriter. A secret smile back lights your eyes as the moment gives you pause and forces you to acknowledge,  that if really pressed, there are days you could probably stunt double that scene.

Let’s face it,  when your over forty nostalgia kicks in whether you like it or not, and the moments when the past seems grander than the present are coming at you faster and faster every day.

 But the professional in you knows better than to give into the time robbing bandits of distraction, so you lose the smile, suck in that extra ten pounds you put on during your spring coma and lean into that story for all your worth. Time flies and before you know it the coffee’s gone cold, the cream cheese is beginning to resemble a dried up watering hole, and you are blissfully lost within the vortex of the creative muse.

This is why that soft tapping sound on your office door goes unnoticed until finally, in desperation, the person on the other side opens it just enough to poke their silvery grey head through and ask, “Are you busy right now? I’ve got a problem on my computer and it won’t let me do that thing you told me I needed to do before …what was it you told me I was supposed to do?”

Without any conscious thought on your part a sigh escapes your lips as you feel yourself brutally pulled out of the zone. Within seconds your grasp on the muse is loosed and all she has brought with her is gone. A childish explant of frustration finds its way from between clenched jaws; and just as quick you silently thank God that your mother is all but deaf and therefore  didn’t hear you say what you would have keel hauled your own child for.

In what seemed like only yesterday,  we were asking our parents advice and watching them pose with the grandchildren for the family photo shoot. The next day we are doling out their medications, helping them negotiate the highway of doctor visits – memory specialist – colon councilors and cardio magicians. Without either of us being aware of how or when, the role between ourselves and our parents has become reversed and no one bothered to inquire if either of us minded.

I don’t know about yours, but it’s been a challenge for mine. Raised during the depression, taught to be independent, hardworking, tax paying citizens as well as upright Republicans, they are now struggling to remember where they put the car keys, if today is Monday or Friday and how did the coffee pot get out on the back porch?

Who would have thought that these pillars of strength and bastions of wisdom would find themselves so dependent upon their grown children? Was there any warning or indication that Godly living and faithful parenting would reward their later years with beginning dementia and failing autoimmune systems?

Don’t get me wrong. I may sigh and murmur when I’m in the zone and my mother needs to stop what I’m doing in order to show her how to turn off her Yahoo account, but it only takes a minute to remember that these two individuals who can no longer navigate their way down freeways and through roundabouts are still the same individuals who believed in me even when I struggled to believe in myself.

So I get up from my desk, go slay the dragon on my mom’s computer and remind myself that the muse is still trapped within my head, and if I’m patient, she and her friends will find their way back to my keyboard sooner than later.

From the laptop of an uncensored dreamer


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