Friday, May 9, 2014

Keeping Mom Safe This Mother’s Day

by Suzanne Wiley, volunteer contributor

Mary Ann Wiley, mom of
Red Crosser Suzanne
A few years ago, my parents retired from a 20-year “temporary” stint as expatriates in Indonesia. Twenty years is a long time to live overseas and it took them almost as long to repatriate back to America as it did getting over culture shock when they first moved there. 

When my Mom decided she was brave enough to drive again—(they had drivers in Indonesia. Yeah, I know, rough life)—I crossed my fingers as she climbed in their brand new Crossover and told her, “Text me when you get there!” I planned our dinner dates early enough in the evening to make sure they could get home before dark. On the first chilled day in autumn the year they returned, I agreed to meet them for lunch. They strolled up wearing t-shirts, while the rest of us Texans were bundled up in our sweatshirts and jackets. I really let them have it that day—didn’t they know older folks cannot regulate their body temperatures as well? Since then, my Mom texts me on chilly days just to let me know she is wearing her jacket. 

Fortunately, my retired parents are in good health. They remain active and are probably in better shape than my sitting-all-day-desk-job self. In fact, my Mom walks at least three miles every morning and swims in the afternoon. (As retired people whose only job is to cheer on the Rangers and occasionally watch their granddoggie, they have the extra time to spend at the Y.) However, when you get THAT old, regardless of how good a shape you are in, things just stop working the way they used to—darn them! As so, I make sure they stock up when ice is in the forecast, help Mom carry groceries, or take a heavy turkey out of the oven. 

You know, it’s somewhat funny when you realize the roles have reversed, like that day I scolded my mom and dad for not wearing jackets. We still joke about it years later and my parents continuously tease me about how they need me to tell them what to do. 

However, in all seriousness, with the realization of the role reversal comes the acceptance of my eventual role as caretaker. My mother gave me life and kept me alive so the best thing I can do on this Mother’s Day is to help repay the favor. And that means a lot more than just reminding her to put on her coat.

The following life-saving gifts from the American Red Cross store are perfect tokens to say, “Thanks, Mom for keeping me fed, clothed and warm!”

Glow stick
Mom’s raving days are over, but during storms, which we have frequently in North Texas, these emergency lighting glow sticks may not help Mom bake chocolate chip cookies, but they will at least help her get to her safe room. 

Emergency radio
Besides being essential for getting emergency weather alerts, charging cell phones to check in from your Red Cross tornado and flood apps, and for back-up lighting, Mom will never miss her beloved baseball even when the power goes out. I can just hear her now, “Can’t that storm wait until after the 9th inning?” In addition, it’s red—Mom’s favorite color. 

First Aid Kit
Be still my mother’s beating heart! When dad takes her out for a nice steak dinner, he like to look sharp and Mom still thinks he’s the most handsomest man on the planet. (Insert “awwwww” track here.) This first aid kit includes aspirin—which stops blood-clotting platelets when one is suffering from a heart attack. If you or someone else you are with is having a heart attack, call 911 and take or give them one 325mg aspirin immediately. 

Mom’s current jacket does just fine—as long as she wears it. However, the Red Cross Classic Track jacket with fleece lining will keep her warm when it is cold, dry after walking her three miles, and most importantly keep her looking smokin’ hot for dad! Moreover, just like when I colored Mom a picture in preschool and she would proudly display it on the refrigerator, Mom will always want to wear the jacket her baby gave her. 

To all of you moms out there, we wish you a happy and safe Mother’s Day! 

For more emergency readiness items and to download any Red Cross apps, visit the Red Cross store.

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