yes mom, yes mom, three bags full

3

three-bags-full-crop

On October 30, 2011, which coincidentally was also a Sunday, I arrived at Mom’s place to live and care for her for what I expected to be one year. It turned out to be five times that. Choosing to leave my life in Dubai to return to Canada to be a caregiver felt like jumping into an abyss, and now, here I was, for better or worse.

baa baa black sheep,
have you any wool?
yes sir, yes sir, three bags full.

one for the master,
one for the dame,
one for the little boy who lives down the lane.

baa baa black sheep
have you any wool?
yes sir, yes sir, three bags full.

English nursery rhyme

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Flashback October 26 – November 5, 2011: One, two, three bags and a carry on accompany me from Dubai to Montreal via Frankfurt. I purchased the three-case set when my ex and I split up in 2005; it made it easier to manage my luggage alone on trips back and forth to Canada. The HUGE-, medium- and small-sized cases in the set attach together to form a “train” I can tilt and tow despite their substantial collective weight when they’re all full, which they most certainly are on this final trip “home.”

I treat myself to a two-night layover at the Kempinski Gravenbruch, my favourite place to pit-stop in Europe to reduce the effects of jet lag. I’ve stayed at the Kempinski many times as I to-ed and fro-ed between the United Arab Emirates and Canada over a period of eighteen years. This is likely be my last visit. Four super-stuffed and much heavier bags and my specially boxed road bike are following by FedEx, which surprisingly prove to be the fastest, cheapest and most efficient way to get them from the Middle East to Mom’s.

Lynn, my long-suffering part-time personal assistant, is mopping up the rest of my Dubai life. Before I left I got rid of seemingly endless boxes full of books and papers as well as the unwanted and/or unneeded detritus I had accumulated in my two-bedroom flat during the previous eighteen months. We labeled things I couldn’t bear not to have back with me someday with orange sticky dots, and decided which pieces of furniture would be stored and later shipped to wherever I might choose to settle in some distant future. Whatever wasn’t thrown out, given away or orange-dotted Lynn will sell. Besides stuff, I shed several buckets of tears. Lynn sniffled occasionally; she’s more stoic than I.

The trip itself is uneventful: a six-and-half-hour overnight flight from Dubai to Frankfurt, two nights at the Kempinski, an eight-hour day flight onward to Montreal, and a two-hour drive from the airport to Mom’s place in Quebec’s rural Eastern Townships. I move relatively easily from one side of the world to another as I have done so many times before. But this time I’ve also ripped myself out of a life I loved, scrunched myself into a ball as a writer might an unwanted page in a difficult manuscript and tossed myself into the wastepaper basket of a destiny I hadn’t bargained for.

Some things in my new life are utterly familiar. As usual, Mom wants me to unpack, “get organized” and toe the line before I even have the chance to take off my proverbial coat. The FedEx-ed bags arrive the day after I do, and five days later all my luggage except for my carry on, which I had quickly emptied, and my bike, which is being reassembled at a local sports store, remain mostly intact in the living room because the suitcases are too bulky and heavy to maneuver up Mom’s steep stairs.

I have begun to unpack in fits and starts and carry bits and pieces up to my bedroom, but I’m more focused on doing what I have come to do (i.e. care for Mom) than I am on doing what Mom wants me to do (i.e. get those damn suitcases out of the living room!). Having lived with her for three months each of the previous six years, I know how little time I will have to do anything that doesn’t center on her. The semi-unpacked rag tag bags are the first sign of how much I have underestimated the enormity of my task.

Whenever Mom walks by the door to the living room, which is thirty-nine times a day if not more, we have a version of the same conversation. Again. And again. And again. And my answer is always something like “yes, Mom, yes Mom, three bags full.”

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Image copyright: yarruta / 123RF Stock Photo

3 Comments

  1. Mary Kathleen O'Connor on

    LOVE, Easter Egg Hunt Idea
    Here’s a FUN project completing said. Write quotes/ important aspects of Easter, The Passion, Purification, Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ/ Easter stickers on little pieces of colorful paper/ place inside plastic eggs (with chocolate/ jelly beans).

    Give everyone a lovely basket (that they can make in art class), have the hunt, then gather together open the eggs for surprises.

    Then place the colorful papers on Easter Tree with colorful ribbons Everyone participates young/ seniors, an incredibly FUN DAY FOR ALL. The different activities keeps all captured.

    Lastly, ENJOY the chocolates / jelly beans, then bedtime sleep/ dream! Creating memories, Love ❤️ spent with each other whether they know your name, not important, but the Loving Attention Is Important!!!

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