My Own Little Red Riding Hood. Gratitude: Day 91

I saw her as she started to get out of the car today at the end of my sidewalk. In her little red hooded coat. Mom was more hesitant than usual today, but I got her to come with me —  out of the car, up the walk and into the house.  She even giggled a few times as I did my best Three Stooges silliness to make her laugh.

Today was my Wednesday with Mom day, when my stepdad drops her off to spend time with me while he goes to his doctor appointment.

As I took her little red jacket off once we were in the house, I felt the circle of life rounding up to a near completion.  As if I was my mother taking a coat off of me when I was little.  But instead, it was me taking her coat off as she looked at me quizzically, wondering what I was doing as I gently removed her coat.  I ushered her to a seat at my kitchen table with magazines for her to shuffle like she seems to enjoy.  I even made her a sandwich and thought about how she used to make me a peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich each day after school with a glass of milk in a jelly jar glass.

Her Alzheimer’s continues to progress and she hardly speaks.  But she is happy and I can still make her smile.  For that I am grateful.  I dread the day when I can no longer make her smile, but I try not to focus on that.

The little red coat she wears was given to me on Christmas when I was almost 16, by my Dad and stepmom.  I always loved that Woolrich coat and it matched my first car — it was a clue that Christmas that I had a red present that might be in the driveway.  (It’s actually the same coat that I was wearing in the photo from my post ” letter to my 14-year-old self .”  And I’m pretty sure that picture was  taken that same night as my sister and I celebrated Christmas with my Dad and stepmom.)

Mom always liked this coat too, and as I grew out of it, her petite frame was still able to wear it, so she adopted it. And because she has always taken perfect care of everything,  today it still looks just as new as it did years ago.  It has a plaid lining and hood, and sometimes my Mom wears the little hood when we go out.  Like my own little red riding hood.

Today I am grateful that I am able to spend time with my Mom in her little red coat on Wednesdays.  The days are a bit long, sometimes zapping my energy from the emotions of it all, but I am glad I can spend time with her.

What are you grateful for today?

For real. Gratitude Experiment: Day 40

 

Whew. I am wiped.  What a weekend.  Wonderful time with my dad, stepmom and niece in town. One of the best weekends I can remember in a while.  I am so grateful that they all battled the craziness of the airports to come for the weekend.  Truly thankful.

But I do feel almost guilty for how heavy my last post was.  There’s that subconscious Catholic guilt again. But I just had to get all that out there, and it helped.  Thanks for muddling through all this self-discovery with me.  It’s way cheaper than therapy.  So I owe you.

September 22 is always a weird day, not only because my sister died on that day, but also because it is my Mother’s birthday.  For real. Yes, I know.  That is messed up with a capital M. In a big way.  Don’t even get me started on that.

At any rate, my out-of- town company family left this afternoon and then a few hours later, my mom and stepdad came for dinner to celebrate my mother’s birthday (a day late but trust me, she’s not counting — sorry that was awful).  I could tell she thought the whole cake and presents thing was fun, but she really had no clue why we were all singing to her. She was very puzzled (Alzheimer’s has a tendency to do that). And when it was time to leave, she went to the laundry room.  In total, she said about five or six words tonight. But she faked it pretty well.  Glad she can still pull it off.

For years, my sister and I always co-hosted dinner for my mom on her birthday.  We would flip a coin as to who would host and then sort of whine and complain all the while because it was always a little bit of an awkward night for reasons hard to explain.  But none of those nights hold a candle to the out of body experiences I have like tonight with my mom.  It’s like I’m watching a movie of someone else’s life in partially slow motion, and with German subtitles that I don’t understand.

But anyway, back to the gratitude which has really affected everything in my life, for real.  I am grateful for my family that visited and the wonderful time we had.  And that dinner with my mom went so well,  and that she seemed genuinely happy.  Thanks for reading.