Life’s gifts are to be found everywhere: In suddenly seeing a problem from a different perspective, in offering of yourself to a friend, in realizing that you receive more than you give.
My week has been about finding those gifts.
Mom was in great form today. We smiled and laughed together, listened to music, sang, had coffee. In fact, it was a “typical” day for us. There were moments of great confusion as she told me that “my two bookings that we have just now are not good for waiting.”
“Oh, really?” I responded, not having the foggiest idea of what she was trying to express.
There were moments of great anger. I tried to surreptitiously cut Mom’s nails while she alternatively hummed and conducted along with the video she was watching, but she kept pulling her hand away. “I don’t trust you,” she yelled. “I’ll do it myself later.”
I relied on Mom’s Alzheimer’s to make her forget my nail-cutting attempts before I tried again. Eventually, I prevailed.
In one of her good moments, she told me that “All these years I’ve known you. And now I know you a lot.” To me, she was saying that she no longer recognizes me as her daughter but, regardless, we have a special bond. She does trust me. I’d like to think that she also meant that she enjoyed my company.
When I met three friends in the local mall recently, one of them mentioned that my parents were blessed to have a daughter like me. No, I said, I am blessed to have my parents. Caring for Mom and Daddy gives shape and meaning to my life just as much as caring for my husband and my children.
When I visited a friend in hospital, she lamented that her young daughter does not remember a time when she was not sick. That makes little difference, I reasoned, because there are so many ways to show love and tenderness. Children adapt and grow in difficult situations.
My goal is to stay open and positive in the face of Mom’s changing abilities. I want to try to accept her fully, to unburden her with the need to always remember where and whom she’s with. I’d also like to be less tired when I’m with Mom. I’m falling asleep as I write these words, having woken early to catch the train for our weekly visit. That’s secondary to understanding that Mom is teaching me how to be patient, kind, creative, and resourceful.
Mom’s world is filled with laughter, light and colors. When I was showing her family photos on my phone, I inadvertently showed her the photo for this blog. She was delighted by the sharp, bold colors of the vegetables, even more than the people pictures. She did coo and aw over photos of her great grandson, but without being able to identify him or connect him to her own life. This one’s for you, Mom.
Marinated Grilled Vegetables
These colorful veggies are a great addition to any summer barbecue party. Prepare in advance and let the skewers sit in the fridge until you’re ready to grill them.
2 red and/or orange peppers
1 purple onion
2 small or 1 large squash
20 cherry tomatoes
4 portabella mushrooms
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp date honey
2-3 cloves crushed garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
Chop peppers, squash and mushrooms into large pieces and toss into large bowl. Quarter the onion and add to bowl along with tomatoes. Mix all marinade ingredients together in a lidded container and shake well. Pour on vegetables and stir until all are coated. Let stand for at least an hour. Spear veggies onto skewers, using the onions at the ends to keep veggies secure. Grill for approximately 10 minutes until vegetables soften and catch a slight burn around the edges.
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