Mother Asked Me to Buy Her Erasers

When my elderly mother asked me to buy her erasers, I did. Does that make me a bad daughter? I knew she wanted to nibble on them and eventually eat all of them. It was a compulsion for her. When she asked me for erasers I had been taking care of her for many years, because she was no longer able to drive, to shop, to meet her own needs. She whined for erasers like a neglected child whining for treats.


I considered carefully before I bought a couple of erasers for my mother. I did not want to give them to her out of anger because she had eaten the erasers off of all of my school pencils for years, until I was old enough to use a ballpoint pen and learned to cross-through mistakes. It was very difficult to learn to write as a child, to do spelling and arithmetic, all without an eraser. In retrospect it seems negligent that my teachers did not notice, or if they noticed that I had no eraser, they did nothing to help me. I used to try and erase my errors with spit. My spit erasings wore through the paper so that all of my assignments and homework had little moist spit holes in them. Even at the time I thought that this was icky.


I decided in the end of it all that what I felt was pity for my mother. All my anger had been worn through like little tearful holes in my life. I bought a couple of erasers for my mother out of pity for her cravings, and she was delighted to have them. Then I monitored her use of the erasers so that she could not eat them, until she was so frustrated with the good behavior that I enforced upon her that she willingly gave the erasers up to me. She could no longer write anyway.


My mother has been gone from life for over five years, and today I threw away the leftover little pile of erasers with which she had occupied herself.

Caption: Mother Asked Me To Buy Her Erasers

by Annmarie Throckmorton 2018


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