I love my Mom, but when dealing with my mother, I often ask myself the question: "How did I get into this?"
A few years back, Mom had a problem with her roof. Her solution to the problem was to opine loudly in my presence: "Oh dear, the north roof needs needs to be re-shingled. It would be so nice if someone were to fix it for me." Then she would sigh loudly.
I hate roofing, so I held out for, oh, five whole seconds before I gave in. "Do you want me to take care of it?"
"Oh, would you dear? That would be so nice. When can you do it?"
"When next week?"
I thought through my schedule. "Friday."
"Morning or afternoon?"
"Can you make it morning instead?"
So that Friday morning I was slugging it out on a hot roof. If any of you have ever done it, you know roofing is one hard, lousy job. Plus I don't like heights. I would not be up there for anyone other than Mom.
I finished and headed down, sweaty and filthy. "Thank you so much dear," she said. "I want to give you something in payment."
"You don't have to give me anything, mom." I just wanted to shower and leave.
"No dear, I have something I want to give you." She began rummaging through the domestic black hole that is her purse, until she found what she was searching for. "I want you to have this," she said, pressing it into my hands. "It's a ticket to the Angels of the Vatican exhibit at the AGO."
"Thanks, Mom," I said. "That's wonderful."
"Well, as you can see on the ticket, the show ends tomorrow, so you'll have to go today. And since you're going today..." she began to rummage in her purse again, and pulled out a second ticket. "Would you mind taking me with you?"
As I looked down on my sweet, innocent mother, who was looking at me with a blank expression that would be the envy of every card shark in Vegas, I knew I'd been had. She got me to fix her roof, and in payment she got me to take her to an art exhibit. I couldn't help but be impressed with her cunning. No wonder Dad never knew if he was coming or going.
She also gets me to take her to other places. For some reason she never asks me straight out to take her somewhere, she just drops hints. For example, the time she got me to take her to St Paul's basilica went like this: "Oh, I've always wanted to go and see St. Paul's. I've been to nearly every other church in Toronto, but not that one. I've always hoped to see it before I die, and I'm not feeling to well these days. sigh."
Don't give in, I told myself. Don't give..."Mom, would you like me to take you?"
"Oh no dear," she replied. "I don't want you to go out of your way just for me."
Wait for it, I thought. 5...4...3...2....
"But if you were to go there anyway," she said. "And you had room for me..."
So we went. It is a beautiful church. I became interested in its history and recently found some photos of the church as it looked in the past, along with a few pictures of the original church to show her. "Thanks dear," she said. "Oh look, there's the paintings on the ceiling. I wanted to have a look at them, but I wasn't feeling well the day we went, and I couldn't look up without feeling dizzy. sigh."
Here we go, I thought. Don't say it, don't say... "Mom, do you want to go on another trip to the basilica?"
"Oh, I don't want to be a bother."
"But if we were to go, could I bring a friend?"
"Sure," I said.
"How about two? And could we also go to..."
So once again I will be a tour guide. And out there, somewhere, even as I write these words, Mom is planning. I feel the chill hand of fear upon my heart that I will need to rent a bus by the time she is done. It's been known to happen. Things tend to spiral out of my control with Mom.
I love my Mom.