Monthly Archives: May 2014

And How Are the kids?

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And How Are the Kids?

If there is one thing my mother loves more than anything it’s her grandchildren, and this has not abated, even with her memory loss. My daughter and two grandchildren live close to me and my mother looks forward to seeing them. However, she is confused about where they live. Whenever I talk with her she asks, How are the kids?”  She thinks they live with me, much to my daughter’s dismay. I always have to remind her that they live with their mother and father, and the last time I saw them they were OK.

When the grandchildren grew up and had children of their own and she became physically slower and mentally not as acute, we knew Mom would not able to do the things with the greats that she had been able to do with her grandkids. Sometimes, it is hard for her to realize this.

     When she sees my daughter she will say , “ Bring the kids over any time. I can watch them for you.”

     “We’ll see,” says my daughter tactfully, picturing her very active three and five-year-olds alone in the room with her grandmother for even ten minutes.

My mother must have realized her own nightmare, though. One day Mom and I went out to lunch with my daughter and the two great grandkids. The lunch went well, the kids were good, if a bit squirmy, which is normal. That must have been on her mind because at 10 o’clock that night I got a phone call.

     “Are you coming to pick up the kids?”

     “What kids?” I said, “You mean Erika’s?”

      “Yes…They’re running around the room and up and down the hall. I’ve tried to get them to stop. They’ve been here all afternoon.”

     “ I will call Erika,” I said playing along.

     ” No, Erika is here too,” she replied.

     “Let me talk with her,” I said.

When my mother turned from the phone and called for her I knew I had gone too far with this game.

     “She must have gone out of the room,” my mother said.

     “She probably took them home,” I said.

Just then there was a knock on my mother’s door and I heard an aide talking with her.

     “Ask her if she has seen any kids in the hallway,” I said.

After hearing her ask and the response, I knew that was my “out.”

     “Mom, you’re going to be fine. I’ll talk with you tomorrow,” I said, hanging up.

And the next day when I called she had no memory of it.

     “How are the kids?” she asks.

     “They’re fine,” I say.

Ode to my Mother

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Happy Mother’s Day! . . . to you, whether you are a mother, have a mother, or carry memories of your mother in your heart.
If you are sole caregiver of your mother, Bless You!
As a daughter of a mother who through memory loss and physical disabilities is no longer the mother she used to be, I think this is a good time for reflection. I think of all the care-taking my mother did over the years. Now she needs the caregiving, and though she valiantly  fought to keep her independence, she is now slowly realizing she needs help from others. This must be very hard to accept, but she is trying.
      When we go out somewhere and I push her in her wheelchair, she’ll say,”I hate to have you do that.You don’t have to push me.”  
      I will respond, “Yes I do have to push you. Remember all the times you pushed me in the baby buggy (I’m dating myself here.) or stroller? This is pay-back.” And she’ll laugh. My mother, thankfully, still has her sense of humor.
 
What best represents my feeling about my childhood is the poem I wrote 26 years ago on my Mother’s 70th birthday.
 
Ode to My Mother

 

Memories, memories
come flooding to my mind.
Ones of my years of growing up
from toddler to a teen.
At age of one and twenty-one
and all those in-between.

 

Christmas and Santa Claus,
the Easter Bunny.
The faithful tooth fairy
who always left me money.
Birthdays and parties,
picnics at the park.
Night lights kept burning
when I was afraid of the dark.

 

Measles and chicken pox
and having to stay in bed.
Cotton and ear aches,
painting my throat red.
Brownies, Girl Scouts
loving to go to school.
Taking swim lessons,
our rubber swimming pool.

 

Wearing halloween costumes
that took a lot of time to make.
Peanut butter cookies
and devil’s food cake.
Washing dirty clothes
in the wringer machine,
Ironing my smocked dresses
so I’d look neat and clean.

 

Dancing lessons,
learning how to skate.
Typing term papers,
staying up late.
Playing with my dollhouse.
getting my first bike.
Having the dentist fill my teeth
getting haircuts I didn’t like.

 

Full skirts and petticoats
hanging on the line.
Patent shoes for dress up
that always had a shine.
Watching the Lone Ranger
on the black and white set.
Running through the sprinklers
getting sopping wet.

 

Dressing up and feeding dolls
I had quite a few.
Reading, reading, reading books
especially Nancy Drew.
Taking summer vacations
to the mountains and the sand.
Burning our bodies
so we’d look tan.

 

Visiting Grandma and Grandpa
who loved to have us there.
Looking in the attic
running up the stair.
Memories, memories
ones I hold so dear,
Memories, memories
In recalling them it’s quite clear.

 

None would have been possible
without that special one
who stood beside me,
helped to guide me
to see that things were done.
By her love and caring
she always found a way.
This very special person
is who we honor here today.

 

It was never said
but I think she always knew.
For all the years,
for all you’ve done
Mom, Thank You!