Ma Makes A Break For It


Let me set the scene. Outside of Ma’s nursing home, there are two wrought iron benches and some metal tables with benches attached, maybe four or five of them. The home is not very big. At the end of the tables are some flowers and plants that sit behind an 8 foot chain link fence (which becomes important later).

During nice weather, I take Ma outside to enjoy her coffee and bun. Sometimes she likes to sit on the benches, and sometimes she likes the tables (she loves to keep me guessing). Every once in a while, I have to run inside the Home to get a napkin or let them know where we are. I’m never gone for more than a minute or two and there’s almost always someone there who’ll keep an eye on her. (Ma and I are well known there). If not, I usually tell her to “watch my bag” and I’ve never had a problem.

Well, one day Ma and I were outside enjoying the beautiful weather. I’d had a particularly rough day at work and was looking forward to enjoying some quality quiet time with Ma. I gave her the coffee and bun which she ate and drank (ignoring me the entire time natch).

When finished, she decided it was “time to leave” and by that she meant she wanted out. She tried the front gate (which only opens one way but, of course, I didn’t tell her that). So Ma starts carrying on, yelling and pushing me to open the gate. After a while, I managed to get her to sit down. I gave her the donut I’d been saving for myself which seemed to calm her down.

At that point, I noticed her nose was running and decided to run into the Home to grab some tissue. I was gone 30 seconds (I counted), and when I got back, Ma was gone. I was about to have a heart attack when I heard Ma yelling, “Helen (her sisters name) get the hell over here now!”

I turned around, and there was Ma, trampling all over the flowers and trying to scale the fence! She had one foot halfway in a fence hole, and was trying like mad to get the other foot in.

After my sh%#  day, the last thing I wanted to do was help Ma climb the fence, so I tried talking some sense into her. It went like this:

Me. Ma you can’t climb that fence.

Ma. The hell I can’t! Get over here and help me.

Me. I don’t want to help you

Ma. Help me. Help me! Help me!! HELP ME!!!!

Here, you should know, there was a public bus stop right in front of us, separated only by the fence. The people waiting couldn’t see us, but they heard Ma yelling for help and were questioning whether to call the police. I was screwed… I couldn’t leave Ma to go back in and ask for help, but I certainly didn’t want the cops to come. So I did what any reasonable person would do, and asked, “Ok ma, what can I do?” Yep, yours try was helping her elderly mother escape from her nursing home. To where? God only knows.

So, Ma told me to lift her up. She weighs about 160 pounds so, of course that didn’t work. Then she got the bright idea that I should climb the fence and pull her up and over. When that didn’t work, and after she told me I was useless (lol), she told me to get down on all fours so she could climb on my back to get over the fence. You just know this wasn’t going to end well, but in the interest of avoiding arrest for elder abuse, I got down in the dirt, further smashing those poor lovely plants.

There I was like a poodle about to pee on a fire hydrant, when Ma said she had to sit for a minute. I started to get up and she said, “Don’t you dare move or I’ll kick you.”

She proceeded to eat the rest of my donut, and after a minute, said, “Get out of the dirt… you’re like a ragamuffin. Are you trying to shame me in front of the neighbors?”

At that moment the bus came, the people got on, and I brought Ma safely back inside the Home. She’d had a very exciting day (whether she knew it or not), and I was left with another Ma-memory and a pair of jeans that had to be thrown away.

Dedicated to Rosetta


About the author ~

Kathleen Bulfin lives is Staten Island where she teaches middle school and goes on adventures with her Ma.

Kathleen Bulfin4 Comments