We went to a specialist and one of the questions she asked me was: What are the things your mom did before but doesn’t or can’t do anymore? There are quite a few and in the short time frame given to me to orally describe them, I’m afraid I may not have done a complete job. So I decided to write it out here.
My mom has Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. I think it was what made her decide to become an educator and eventually made her become an exceptionally pleasing and remembered Home Economics Teacher.
I remember as my own wedding approached, I did something in one of those crazy moments: I declared that I would love to be like my mom one day — the perfect hostess and an amazing homemaker. Little did I expect that it would require a special kind of person to achieve such a task. My mom was such a person. Aside from the ginormous task of keeping our house and our family in smooth, running order, she would collect paper, greeting cards, even magazines, that were given to her or came in the mail or could be found lying around the house, which she would decide as either save-worthy (meaning with sentimental value) or salvageable (meaning she would cut out the unusable portion and keep the still writable space, no matter how small). And she would organize everything according to size, and use them wherever applicable.
Nowadays, she still collects. But not those items she used to spend hours and hours on, clipping and keeping the good and throwing out the unusable. What does she collect? Tissue paper.
In one of my previous posts, I listed the items that can be found in my mom’s bag at any given time. I believe tissue paper was one of them. And not just clean ones. Just yesterday, we brought her on a “joy ride” while my husband and I did some errands. So of course, we had our lunch in a fast food restaurant, and while we were getting up to leave, I caught my mom doing this: she took out a tissue from her bag, tore it into two, wiped her mouth with one half and while holding on to the other half, threw it back into the bag. When I rushed to retrieve it (so I could throw it away properly), I was shocked to find, not just that one soiled tissue, but A LOT! In fact, the whole bottom of the bag was littered with tissue pieces and there was even a roll of toilet paper (still clean) lying on top.
I automatically began reprimanding her about the evils of dirt and bacteria and viruses when I stopped in mid-sentence. My mom was a cleanliness expert! She was the one who taught me not to litter, to clean as you go, to dispose of trash properly, etc. How could she have forgotten something that was so ingrained in her being that her whole life was practically fueled by it like oil?
Now, as I close this post, a thought came to me: She did get some of it right — she didn’t litter and she cleaned as she went.. but somehow, she wasn’t able to completely dispose of her trash properly. So how do you explain the intricacies of the concept to someone whose brain patterns are incomplete? And besides, who am I to do that to her? She is, after all, my mother.