Tuesday, May 14, 2013

To the Zoo

We had a pass for a visit to one of Melbourne's connected zoos, Werribee, Melbourne or Healesville. Sister, Bone Doctor and Little Jo are zoo members and so get free admittance.

"Mother, would you like to go to Werribee Zoo on Mother's Day?".

"Andrew, I can't walk so far." In the background I heard ABI Brother say, "Only foreign animals". ABI has a strong Australian focus and is obsessive about buying Australian. ABI is acquired brain injury.

It was clear neither wanted to go and Mother and Sister had a decent battle over the phone about it. "My daughter won't listen to me," complained Mother.

"Please, it isn't hard to ride in a bus," said Sister.

Sister is ever the organiser though. You put on afternoon tea for Mother on Mother's Day, invite who will come. We will all go to the zoo ourselves, and so we did. Report to Werribee Zoo at 9.50 to beat the 10.00 AM meets. Afternoon tea means a blow out in house keeping budget and R having to do a lot of work. I used to offer to help, but I have learnt that it is better to let him get on with it. I am expert in other areas.

Slightly hungover from jelly shots at a party the night before, we were there and waiting and Sister arrived after 10.00. We booked the 10.50 zoo safari tour and filled in the time in between by having overpriced and rather ordinary coffee. Sister and Bone Doctor received free coffee for Mother's Day.

It was a great outing. Sister and Bone Doctor stayed on for a bit, while we brought Little Jo home to our place and got ready for Mother's arrival.

It was a pleasant time at home with family and Tradie Brother attended too. Non Dreaded Nephew was on on call for fires. Oldest niece was at work. Hippie/Chainsaw niece was unwell. Their own mother, Sis in Law is overseas. But Mother had all her children at the Highrise in one place and R and Bone Doctor took photos of our blood family, Mother and her children.

We had thought of a game of tennis or bocce in the afternoon if things became quiet, but they didn't. While Mother was outside smoking, we played a stop watch timed game of fitting different shapes into a ball like thing. It was a lot of fun. Mother was requested to play but she tried to cry off with a statement that she has medically diagnosed brain atrophy.

Little Jo sorted out her Nanny with a very rehearsed speech. "Nanny, it is not about who wins but the fun you have by participating, and by joining in you will be treating us with mutual respect." So there, Mother had been told.

Mother didn't do so badly at the game at all and at least beat her Tradie Son.

All were gone by about 4.30. R, take your Nanna Nap. You have really earnt it. It was a good day.

Photos from the zoo later.

Post Script: FC in a comment reminded me of something that may amuse you. Sorry it is a bit long.

Mother said she and late Step Father visited her mother's grave about six weeks after she died. Step Father was ever so delicate and said, she will be rotted down now. This gave Mother the horrors and Mother decided then and there that she wanted to be cremated.

Step Father's ashes sit on the desk of Mother's best friend's husband who now has dementia. Not sure how that happened.

It is ok Mother. We know what you want. We will throw you off Cowes Jetty at Phillip Island. One two, heave ho. All were thinking about ashes, but I made motions of throwing a body off the pier. How they laughed. Yes, you did have to be there.

It went down like a lead balloon with Mother of course. Rather like the time Sister and I pretended to go around Mother's place labelling things we wanted when Mother dies. 


  1. We want to spend as much time with elderly parents as possible because one day there won't be any more zoo trips or afternoon teas out. I can't even deal with the thought of losing a parent :(

    But it is exhausting, isn't it. Getting out for a day requires more staff, money and planning than Churchill needed for the Western Front! Just emptying the drive way of ordinary cars to get in the "wheelchair suitable car" takes time.

    I mustn't be very good at this. At the end of each excursion, I crawl into a whiskey and ice.

    1. Hels, it is getting harder and Mother is very stubborn about some things and quite manipulative at times. But I don't think she is at the stage of physical frailty yet that your parents are.

      I quite like my father, but I don't miss him. There are times when I would like to ask him things, but he is not here anymore.

      When my mother goes, I will grieve, but not overly. She will be the last of my of my seniors that I have contact with apart from my step mother, so there will be a finality about things, and some emptiness no doubt.

      You dilute your scotch with ice? Sacre bleu.

  2. Little Jo's speech was AWESOME.

    And yeah you probably had to be there to fully appreciate your dark sense of humor (throwing your mother's body vs. her ashes). But I still can appreciate it a LITTLE bit from here.

    1. Dina, I would call Little Jo horribly precocious, except she was just repeating something she had heard before.

      On your marks, one,two, heave ho. How we laughed.

  3. Believe me Andrew you have no idea yet of how horrid it is when a parent departs from our lives, it's a little like losing your roots.

    1. Grace, is that kind of looking at the bigger picture of how you will feel down the track after the initial grieving?