The Goddess Speaks
Loving daughter has a message for mom
PORK-FRIED shrimp? What's that?" My mom looked at me over her menu, puzzled.
"What?" I asked.
"Didn't you just say they have pork-fried shrimp?"
I sighed. "No, Mom, I said they have coconut shrimp."
She still looked puzzled.
"Coconut shrimp!" I shouted, causing several other customers to swivel their heads in my direction. Who was that rude woman yelling at that nice elderly lady?
"You don't have to yell," Mom said primly, going back to her menu. I sighed again.
"You need a hearing aid," I said.
"You just need to enunciate better," she replied. As expected.
The waiter stopped by to take our orders. When he asked my mom what kind of salad she wanted, she looked at him in that blank way I've come to recognize.
"Garden salad or Caesar?" I said, loudly.
"Stop shouting at me!"
A few weeks ago, Mom was redecorating her condo and wanted to unload some matching sheet sets. Turns out someone I work with needed sheets, so I called my mom to let her know.
"Mom, someone I work with wants the sheets. Can I come and get them?"
"What did you say?" she asked.
"I said, someone wants the sheets."
"Honey, I can't understand what you're saying."
"Sheets! Sheets!" I shrieked.
"Well ... I'll talk to you later, then," Mom said, sounding hurt. Horrified, I realized that she thought I was shouting a four-letter word at her.
"No! Wait! Don't hang up!" I yelled, then added helpfully, "I said ... those things you put on a bed!" No response. "Rhymes with seats! Cleats! Meats!"
I don't know what my co-workers were thinking, but Mom finally said, "Oh! Sheets! Why didn't you just say that in the first place?"
MY SIBLINGS and I have tried reasoning with her. We've tried begging. She always has an excuse not to get a hearing aid. "I have to have my knee surgery first." "Maybe after I get new glasses." "I can't afford it, I'm redecorating my condo." And on and on.
We're having our annual family reunion in a couple of months, Mom. All your kids will be there, and your kids' kids and, in some cases, THEIR kids. We'll all have a great time, yakking it up and howling with laughter, but you won't hear any of it. We'll talk about what to eat, and make plans about where to go and what to do. The little ones will crawl on your lap and say cute things and tell you they love you. But you won't hear any of it because you refuse to acknowledge that being in your ninth decade means some parts of your body don't work quite as well as they used to.
I'm sorry to do this to you, Mom, but I don't know how else to get through to you. So, now that I've embarrassed you in public, will you please just do it? Look at it this way: Could you read this without your glasses?
Nancy Christenson is assistant editorial page editor of the Star-Bulletin.
The Goddess Speaks is a feature column by and about women. If you have something to say, write "The Goddess Speaks," 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210,
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