Not quite the plan

on finding my groove as a 30 something single girl and caregiver for mom with dementia


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Holidays, assisted living style.

Well, much time has passed since I last posted here.  It’s been a blur of taking more time for myself including several trips, reinitiating my relationship with Nothusband, and job hunting for a new role.  Suddenly, though I find myself facing the complicated question of what to do about Christmas for Mom.  And for me.

Thanksgiving was both easy and hard.  It was hard to accept that holidays are simply going to look different from here on out.  But it was easy to find a way to be together. Sis, Nothusband and I cooked and brought her a plate of food and a bunch of fall flowers.  I bundled Mom up for a walk together. 

But Christmas is a whole other story.  Just four years ago, Mom would decorate a house full of Christmas trees, throw a couple of parties, shop for towers of Christmas gifts and do enough baking to give most of her acquaintances a box of cookies.  She loves Christmas. 

So the other night after work, Sis and I trekked up to the facility with an artificial tree, nonbreakable ornaments, and a box of other decorations.  It was a happy evening though I could not help but feel the difference for Mom as I hung every ornament on her tree.  But Mom was delighted.  I think of her comment to me years ago, when I asked why she put so much work into Christmas decorations.

“When I am near a Christmas tree, I am happy.”

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Sunglasses for Christmas.

Mom has always loved Christmas.   Christmas and Mom are such intertwined concepts for me and probably many people who know her. Mom always made Christmas special, and not just for our family.  Her version of gift giving, baking and decorating would have given Martha Stewart a run for her money, and I would bet that woman has a whole crew.  Mom’s Christmas parties were always the best.

So this was the first year where I was truly in charge of our Christmas.  Two years ago Mom was still driving to go pick out Christmas presents for me.  Last year, Mom was still the one who decorated our tree and would not let me touch it. 

And then came this year.  For the first time in my life, Christmas has really been my show.  I decorated the house, planned the menu,  bought and wrapped the gifts, sent the Christmas cards.  I was proud of holding up many of our traditions from pulling crackers to drafting a Christmas letter for the cards.

But Mom showed that she is still the one who loves Christmas most.  She came downstairs today ready for a Christmas party by accessorizing her pajamas with her sunglasses!  For much of the afternoon, after pulling it off a package, she left a bunch of curly ribbon attached to her ear as decoration.  And as we opened gifts, Mom switched to a southern drawl.  I watched my mother sport her sunglasses, toss her head to shake her ribbon decoration and perform her idea of a southern belle.  She may be having a tougher time all around these days, but Mom was still the one who brought the party on Christmas. 

Merry Christmas from a house full of chaos, but also a lot of love and laughter!