Tender Simplicity

I was recently home again with my mom for an extended stay. Each day we went out to have her favorite meals and each evening we spent time talking and watching TV. She doesn’t ask for much anymore, except having her family close by. It seems like a very simple request yet living three hours away, it takes a lot to condense my daily life into a few days to be away for most of the week. The hardest part is the travel and catching up when I get home, yet the time we have together is very special.

I watch her trying hard to remember what we are doing each day. She asks each morning what day it is and “what’s on the agenda for today”. Rather than answer her I say, “what day do you think it is and what would you like to do?” She stops, sometimes answers correctly and other times struggles to find the right answer, often asking for help when she needs it. I always give her what she asks for because at this stage of her 92 years, most requests are so simple. The only one that I have to say “no” to her is when she wishes I lived with her. I wish I could be with my Mom every day…heavy sigh.

I take more time to listen to her and to look at her when we are together. So I savor those moments to see the shades of her brown eyes, I look at how her hands have aged and remember all the dishes and floors she washed. Interestingly enough, as I look at her hands, I put mine next to hers and see how I am aging. I can only hope for her healthy longevity.

This morning we talked about the recent political conventions. For the first time, we are on the same page about who should win the Presidential election. That was a pleasant surprise and she even laughed about it. We have always had heated conversations about politics and now we have come full circle. Finally we agree, BUT it’s not November 8th yet!

I’m due back to visit her in two weeks and I am counting down the days. Our summer visits are always fun because we go out for ice cream, lobster rolls, hot dogs and most everything else that brings joy during the summer. We ride around our hometown, drive down the Jersey Shore and talk about our great memories.

I’m blessed to have a strong relationship with my mom. At this stage of her life she is the mother I have always wanted her to be and I can find blessings even in seemingly difficult situations. With her memory loss, she no longer frets over things that used to twist her up inside. She is much more relaxed, appreciative and thankful. She rarely complains anymore and everything seems to be more than enough for her. She sleeps more restfully without anxiety lingering over her. A lesson to us all to find joy in acceptance and gratitude and to let go of that which does not serve us. Thank you, God, for her lessons, love and tenderness.