Not quite the plan

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


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Mom and the children of the world.

Mom loves kids.  I mean, she absolutely loves kids.  Anytime we see a child or baby when we are out running errands, she stops everything to say hello, chat, admire them.  It’s lovely.

We were shopping in Ikea recently and I got highly distracted with the question of whether I was finding the 27 parts that seemed to be required to build the particular shelving unit that I wanted.  I looked up to find Mom happily chatting with a rather adorable 7 year old down the aisle.  Mom was channeling her inner school teacher — she taught elementary school for about a decade before having me.   It was quite sweet.  Mom was using our tiny Ikea pencil to write the little girl a report card giving her all As.   The girl’s father and I hovered, carefully watching the two of them.

It makes me happy when I see kids bring out this kind of happiness in her.  It also breaks my heart that she will not be around, at least not in a high functioning way, to be a part of my children’s lives, if I ever have them.  Mom recently told me out of the blue that she would like to open a day care in our house.  It was a brilliant idea for who she is at core, and yet not an idea that is possible anymore.   A more functioning version of her would have loved that.  And she would have been wonderful at it.

In the meantime, it always gives me a moment of joy when I see a child in our path these days.  I know that the minute of saying hi to them will make Mom’s day that much brighter.  I wonder whether the families we encounter have any idea of the joy they are bringing.


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Music.

When I started this blog, I was committed to keeping the overall balance of this blog on the lighter, happier moments and have been feeling less of those over the past few weeks.  But one serious bright spot was when I recently got tickets to take Mom to the symphony.  Mom has always loved music and various performing arts and when we moved in together I had made a mental commitment to take her about once a month to some sort of performance.  It’s one of the ways that I think that I can realistically give her a higher quality of life.  She appreciates watching and listening to things as it is increasingly difficult to think of the right word or string together the coherent idea that she wants.

Music is high of the list of things that she responds well to– mostly when I play CDs around the house.  So I expected that the symphony would be a hit.  It certainly was.  Mom actually sat there, so moved by the music that she waved her arms to the melody, as though she was conducting herself.  I had a few moments of feeling a bit awkward toward the other patrons and then decided that this was a moment when I was grateful for only being able to afford the cheap seats in the back!  There was no one near us so I let Mom wave her arms in the tune to the entire symphony.  She loved it.  And I was grateful to be able to give her something that brought her that much joy.