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Celia Capace - The Social Butterfly That Is My Mother

My mother is a social butterfly. She’s 82 and looks good for her age. No cosmetic surgery for this octogenarian, just a dash of lipstick and she’s always good to go. This weeks blog photo was recently taken a fortnight ago at her great grandchild’s christening. The social butterfly that is my mother has had to curtail her social calendar since the coronavirus became pandemic. Though my mother looks good for her age she is still in the highest risk category as she suffers from severe bronchial asthma, an ailment she has suffered all of her life. Her bronchial asthma is so severe that medical practitioners don’t believe that she’s truly never smoked. 

My mother loves company. I mean, the more the merrier is her life motto. She is the fifth of nine children and has never really lived alone. I began to live with her once my father died as it suited us both. She’s always loved to socialise outdoors and indoors and that part of her hasn’t abated with age. She was never a homebody but once she became a widow she was rarely ever home during the day. Don’t get me wrong, my mother misses my father greatly and still grieves for him, as do I. I think her socialising increased after his death to help keep her mind occupied. For the social butterfly that my mother is it’s strange that she’s not more comfortable with her own company. 

With my father, staying home was preferable though when he did socialise he did so mainly to appease my mother.  He loved her dearly. My parents had a very happy marriage. Though they were complete opposites their respect, compromise and communication helped to make their marriage a success. In my youth, I took after my mother socially.  If a weekend didn’t have a social event it was a wasted weekend. With age I’ve mellowed more into my father with social events becoming more of a chore unless it’s a catch-up coffee, chat or dinner party with close friends, and these I prefer spaced well apart. 

Anyhow, back to my mother and her dilemma with the confines of the coronavirus crisis. At first, she resisted my attempts to get her to understand that she needed to curb her social calendar. She felt that at this late stage of her life she might as well make the most of it while she still could. She didn’t care if her health or life were in danger, she’d do as she pleased. I told her, in no uncertain terms, she had family responsibilities such as consideration for her children, grandchildren and even a great-grandchild. Her selfish attitude to put her life at risk didn’t only involve herself as her family still needed her. She didn’t like to hear it but she must have understood this somewhat as she did begin to curb her socialising, but not enough as far as her family were concerned. 

She belongs to two senior citizen clubs who met weekly and now both clubs have shut down any social events due to the coronavirus until further notice. Due to my mother’s favourite social events being forcibly restricted, for now, my mother has begun to accept and understand the gravity of this situation. My mother catches up with my oldest sister every Thursday morning for a coffee with friends that includes my niece and great-nephew.  My older sister soon put a stop to this. My younger sister refuses to let her four boys near my mother as they are all involved in sporting activities mixing with others. We now know people can be infected for days before symptoms show. Eventually, all three of her daughters have made sure my mother is quarantined whether she likes it or not. No more socialising, even with family. Better safe than sorry. In other words, the universe spoke and my social butterfly mother had no choice but to listen. Due to the pandemic, it is imperative to clip those wings for a while at least. 

I’m personally at risk due to my ill health and compromised immune system. So, living with my mother this quarantine works for me too. I am also responsible to see that my mother doesn’t stray. We are Italian so always have enough food and other necessary supplies to last at least 2 months (if not 2 years) even before the coronavirus pandemic occurred. We were even well stocked with toilet paper before the mad hoarding.  Having Crohn’s disease that was a given...thank goodness and phew!