My Mémè is a fly by the seat of her pants woman. I am not, and honestly when your trying to do things with an 80 year old woman, you can’t wing it. The thing you can do is appear to wing it. This is, I’ve realized, is what my Mémè actually does.
We should start at the beginning. When planning the trip I tried to give my Mémè as much autonomy as possible. I let her talk to all my family and and decide who/how we were going to get picked up at the airport. She promised, in a hundred ways, that my cousin and his friend were picking us up.
Knowing my Mémè and my cousin I really doubted that this was going to occur but hey, she swore it was all set. So we step off the plane and into her waiting wheel chair and set off the for the baggage claim.
“Where are we supposed to meet them?” I ask, so I can tell the person assisting us where we need to go after we grab our bags.
“I don’t know, he just said he would see us when we got here.”
Excuse me? Was she kidding, in this giant airport he’s just going to find us here. I was hot and tired and I was dragging two large suitcases and a carry on behind me.
“We’ll just head towards the pick up section,” I said. They dropped us off at the exit doors and after I got my Mémè on her feet out we stepped into the hot, humid, Florida sunshine. Of course my gram complained that it was too windy, but it was 70 degrees and I was melting. After checking the curb a few times, I asked my Mémè if she knew what the car looked like. No he didn’t say… Okay, did she have my cousin’s phone number in her phone?
ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I took a deep breath. I could deal with the fact that she threw her cell phone away months ago and didn’t tell anyone after we got to the house. I rolled up my sleeves and stepped back into the airport to call my parents. After calling around I finally got in touch with my uncle who said that my cousin most definitely was not on his way to pick us up. He worked today.
More deep breaths, a quick tension releasing yoga stretch and back out I go to let Mémè know that she needs to hang out on the bench a few minutes longer while I go get a rental car because my cousin is not coming. I have to wait in line for about 10-15 minutes but then it’s my turn to step up to the super busy rental car counter.. After a few minutes conversation with the woman at the counter I learn that there isn’t a car left and I can feel myself starting to get a migraine.
I try three rental car counters and the only thing they have is an insanely expensive car that I know my Mémè will have trouble getting in and out of. No, worries we’re getting a cab, I say to myself. When I step back out to get my Mémè, she’s pacing up and down along curb, all of our bags unattended by the bench. When I ask what she’s doing/is she okay? She just waves me off and says she is getting her walking in. I haul all of our stuff over to the cab stand, Mémè trailing slowly behind me. Finally, I settle her in and give the driver our address and off we go.
It was certainly an auspice start to the month. Every time we made a plan my Mémè more or less blew it up by either disappearing for an indeterminate amount of time or by deciding half way through she wanted to do something else. It was a pretty valuable lesson in going with the flow. I learned to just roll with it but I did buy her a cell phone and learned how to track her life alert button.