Mom has always loved the ocean. She and my father used to live in a house with a beautiful ocean view and one of the many sad things about moving out to be with me took that aspect of life away from her.
But, she and I both love the water and seek it out. We have access to a harbor that we used to walk around often. She always loved that but in our current house it is a bit further away and getting Mom out a bit more challeningat this stage.
Last year, for Mother’s Day, we drove out to the ocean for a day. It was a good day, one that I think I will always remember– until of course, I don’t. We ate a picnic of cold pasta salad out of old ice cream containers, sitting on beach towels. Mom wanted to kick her shoes off and get her feet wet in the ocean. She was delighted by just a few minutes with cold wet toes. For weeks after, she brought up the beach trip and talked about going again. It brought her joy.
In a fit of deciding that it was officially the end of winter for us, I took Mom this past weekend to the ocean. I could not help but contrast this trip to that day last year. She was overwhelmed at walking out onto the sand in her shoes. There was no sitting on the beach or walking in the water. Mom is drawn into her self so much more at this point.
I was delighted though when we first walked out on the boardwalk and Mom turned to me and said, I live here you know. She recognized the ocean as her place. And in spite of a more limited experience, it still was a good day.
Mom and I took advantage of my three day Easter weekend vacation from work to head to Shenandoah National Park. It was partly a practice trip for a possible upcoming road trip I want to take to give Mom the chance to do one last visit with some family and partly just to get us out of the city. I was hoping for a little more springtime!
It was interesting to see Mom respond to being in a beautiful setting. She commented on so many of the flowering trees, views, and a rather spectacular sunset on Saturday night but the highlight of the trip was absolutely seeing deer up close on the road. Mom was delighted by every deer that we passed and talked about those moments a lot later. I was able to snap a few photos too – one of which is below- so that we can look at them and try to remember the trip later.
The most stressful moment of the weekend came when we woke up in our hotel room on Sunday morning and Mom turned to me to ask, “where are we?” Upon waking up she had no memory of driving up to the park which must have been incredibly disorienting. We talked over breakfast then and I was able to gradually remind her of several of the highlights from the day before. Overall, she had a lot of questions and commentary about everything that we saw and appeared happier than I have seen her recently.
I couldn’t help but think that the change of scenery had her a bit more stimulated than usual, in a very good way. If nature trips are going to bring both of us so much satisfaction, then I see a few more outings in our future.