Dec 19, 2014

Learning to Let Go of Stubbornness at Christmas

My mom is disabled.  She has had three strokes to date, she has extremely high blood pressure, diabetes and degenerative disc disease in her back.  It's genetic, my grandfather had it, and he eventually ended up in a wheelchair; unfortunately my mom will probably end up in one too eventually.  She can't stand or walk for long periods of time and she can't even sleep in a regular bed, she has to sleep on a recliner since she can't lay down straight, she can't sit for long periods of time because the disease she has in her back causes extreme pain down her leg and in her back when she does.  My mother definitely can't work and has been trying to get Social Security Disability for two years now.  They keep denying her.  They keep denying her because her disease isn't causing damage to her internal organs yet.  Does she have to be dying in order to get SSD?  We've had plenty of arguments with them and obtained the help of a lawyer who decided to work with us on a contingency basis because he believed in my mom's case.  However, we still haven't heard back from them.  It's been a year,

I love my mom to death and would do anything for her, since she helped me all my life, but paying for her expenses as well as mine and my childrens' is getting extremely difficult.  Actually, it's always been difficult but it's been getting even more difficult since her therapy rate went up.  No, it's not covered by her Medicaid.  

In August one of my mom's friends asked her if she had been getting Widows Benefits, which was my dad's Social Security.  My mom called to inquire and she found out that she was eligible for my dad's Social Security, which was a great thing to happen to us.  She also found out that if she was approved for SSD, she wouldn't get the monthly payments but she would get the lump sum they owe her for the two years prior; we are still waiting for that.  Though she currently does get (since September) my dad's Social Security.

The other day she asked me, "What do you want for Christmas?"

I had no answer for her.

She explained to me that since I've allowed her to live with me and because I've been paying for her expenses for the past two years, she wanted to get me a Christmas gift since she hasn't been able to in years.

I know she needs the money and I really didn't want her to get me anything, but she's insisting.  So I told her some small things that I could use such as a new sweater or some of the drug store makeup that I use, but she didn't like that answer.  "I could always get you something inexpensive like that.  I want to get you something special." She said.

Sigh.  She wasn't going to give up, was she?  Honestly, I want a lot of things but I don't need them and when I became a mother I learned the importance of want versus need. Of course there are times when I splurge on myself and do get something that I want, but most of the time I don't buy myself anything that would take a big chunk out of my budget. 

She didn't give up.  I kept telling her that I didn't want her to get me anything too expensive but she kept insisting and asking me what I want.  I finally broke down and gave her a small list of things that I've wanted (that weren't too expensive) but that I wouldn't splurge on myself.  Such as a waterproof case for my iPhone 6, one of those hair curling wands, a glass screen protector for my phone and a list of some mid-range makeup that I've always wanted.  She was happy with that list.

Finally.  She told me to shut up, stop complaining and to let her do something nice for me.  

Nice for me? She watches my kids every day while I'm at work, she allows me to go out on occasion with my friends for some sanity, she helps my kids with homework when I get so overwhelmed that I want to rip up the worksheets,..  She does something nice for me every single day.  

But I understand what she means.

I get her a present every Christmas, even if funds are scarce.  I find something nice to get her because I know that I want to get her something to express my gratitude for all she's done for me.  She probably feels the same and wants to do that for me.  It's just hard for me to let her get me a present.  

I'm stubborn, but maybe I shouldn't be.