by Kevin Burton
Last month I assured my mother and the rest of the family that a certain cabinet would fit under a certain table.
She was moving, in a hurry, and we were strategizing. She was going to assisted living, going from eight rooms to four. A lot of stuff would have to go and the remaining things would have to be deployed intelligently, to best utilize space.
The table that used to be in her office, the one she used to organize and pay bills, was being repurposed for counter space in the new kitchen, directly across from the refrigerator.
The long black cabinet from the old kitchen would fit under that table, providing space for whatever, pots, pans, skillets.
I measured the table and the cabinet probably three times each. I had to be sure. I felt confident they would fit together.
Well the table didn’t get there right away because the moving company damaged, then fixed it. But it is there now. I saw the table with the cabinet for the first time yesterday.
Don’t you know there was less than half an inch clearance between table and cabinet? With some difficulty I could get the tips of my fingers in the space between. That is not how I had it figured.
“Oh my goodness this just barely fit,” I said, amazed.
“But it fits,” said my mother and we both had a good laugh about it.
It’s just so good to laugh again. This shared narrow victory improved everyone’s disposition.
Admitting her need for assisted living was difficult for my mother. I’m guessing it’s difficult for almost everybody. You look back on eight decades of independence and it’s tough to give up even a part of it.
Since I was one of the drivers of the decision to move there, I took it hard and very personally when some aspect of the arrangement didn’t go as we planned. Even though these things were not my fault, I felt responsible.
I mentioned in a previous post that the assisted living facility we chose lied to us about something important. I am pleased and relieved to report that thanks largely to my brother, that situation has been about 90 percent fixed. We should have things completely rectified in a week or two.
In that interim I felt helpless and angry. My way of fixing things would not have worked as well as my brother’s. So I am grateful to God I found about it after 5 p.m. on a Friday and thus had nobody to spew anger on. Forced to cool down, I did.
I have turned some of that energy to helping mom organize the new place. I am fully aware of how to eat an elephant. I’ve been told several times, one bite at a time.
The chaos of her living quarters, the inability to find something needed, such as a spoon that first morning in the new place, added to mom’s stress and mine.
But every box that is emptied, with contents put away, every solution, every workaround, makes her place look more like a home, or “more like me” as she puts it.
Yesterday we put her small couch in place. We put her ugly obtuse lamp that she loves in place.
Now I see I’ve been using the word obtuse incorrectly all these years but hey, I’m not stopping now. Both mom and I know it as a laughing term of derision. It’s all in good fun.
And fun is what the family is hoping for.
Mom doesn’t have to struggle now. She will always do things she can independently. But now there is help. It is an ease of mind for me.
With that burden lifted off of her, once she gets a little more used to the new setup, we can go back to fun times, the way it has been the last dozen or so years.
In the meantime, by God’s grace we’ll get by. Sometimes He gives us just enough to move forward, like that cabinet that just barely fits under the table.
If my math is off at times, His provision is always there in just the right measure.