"I'm not eating THAT!"
I have found that wherever I go, people are kind and helpful; opening doors, saying nice things, smiling, and allowing us to go first on elevators etc. (I’m acquainted with every elevator and bathroom in every single store.) Because Mother is in a wheelchair, I often share the elevator with other Moms and their young ones.
I'll smile and say, ‘The circle of life.”....
The mom looks down at her child, smiles and says, “Are you going to take care of Mommy like that kind lady is taking care of her mommy?”. The child will look at my Mom, they'll exchange smiles and we go our separate ways.
I have come to realize that I'm an older single Mom. I can relate to single Moms in many ways: strollers/wheelchairs, diapers/depends, milk bottles/water bottles, little fishes/little fishes, change of clothes/change of clothes, teeth come out/teeth come out, daycare/daycare, afraid of the dark/afraid of the dark, limited vocabulary/limited vocabulary, needs attention/needs attention. I could go on and on.
My mother goes to Sarah Care, a wonderful adult day care facility! They pick her up and bring her home in a van. They provide breakfast, lunch, and snacks, plus activities AND supervision! This gives me time to go on appointments for my ministry. She goes to Sarah Care a few days a month.
As I help her on the van, I notice a childlike fear on her face. I can read her mind. She's thinking, "What if I never see my mommy again?". I assure her that I will be waiting for her "after school".
I always step onto the van and I ask the same question I have been asking for the past few years.
“Who knows what day it is?” The new ones say the date, but the ones who have been coming say this Bible verse with me.
“This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.” When Mother hears that verse she smiles a happy smile. I tell her to have fun and I wave goodbye.
When Mother first started going a few years ago, she thought it was a job.
She would say, " I have to go to work."
Then one day she asked why they didn’t pay her. I told them that WE paid THEM.
She said, “Then, I’m not working THERE anymore!” After that revelation she started talking about going to school. Yesterday she wanted to know what grade she was in.
I said, “ A big grade.”
The other day when they brought her home at 3:00, she had a big smile on her face. She was very glad to see me. I got her settled and she tried to tell me what she did all day. (Now I'M the one asking 21 questions..)
“So Mother, how was your day?”
“Uhhhh...” (brows go up, shoulders shrug up, and she tilts her head. )
“So, it sounds like you had a great day. What did you have for lunch?”
She thought about it. "Uhhhhh..."(brows go up, shoulders shrug up, and she tilts her head.)
“So, you really enjoyed your lunch. You must have had something green.”
“How would YOU know?”
“It’s still in your teeth. Are you hungry?”
“Uh.....” (brows go up and head tilts.)
“Okay, let’s see what we have.... (open refrigerator). Would you like some ice cream?”
“Yes!” A big smile came over her face and she enjoyed a big bowl of her favorite dessert.
Dinner was interesting. I put her bib on, and she sat down. I put her dinner in front of her.
She immediately said, “What is THIS?"
“String beans, squash and corn bread.”
“I don’t like it.”
“You USED to love it.”
“Well, I don’t like it anymore.”
“Okay, just eat a few bites.”
I walked away from the table. When I returned, her plate was clean. "Wow, you really ate fast!" After a closer look I noticed that she had eaten the cornbread and butter, but she'd hid the veggies in her dinner napkin.
This gesture reminds of a story Mother told me many times through the years. She said she would dump her oatmeal right out the window (this was obviously before screens). Her mother thought she was eating it every morning! It wasn’t until weeks later that her Mother noticed all the cats in the neighborhood were coming over to THAT spot for their morning breakfast! Ha ha.
After dinner each night, she sits on the front porch while I walk around the block. It’s a short block. I have threatened her life if she gets off the porch. (Funny, she used to threaten MY life if I stepped off our porch when I was younger!)
I find this is a perfect time to admire the work of my Creator God and tell Him about my day. Every time I walk by the house, I tell Mother “Just one more time around the block.” Thank goodness she stays there until I come back. The day begins to get a little cooler with a slight breeze.
When I finish walking, I sit on the front porch with Mother and we talk about her family members who have passed away. She thinks they are still alive in Griffin. So what? We can reminisce. Mother and I relax in our rocking chairs on the front porch and enjoy the summer evening with fireflies. Tonight, she’s not asking to go home. I’m smiling. All is well with the world.
I thank God for another day with my Mom and I say to myself, “This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24. How about you? Are you enjoying each day? I hope so.
Many times people have said, “I wish I had my Mom. She died last year.” One lady said, “Enjoy the journey, it won’t last forever.”
I’m enjoying the journey. I hope you are too.