We seem to be in a kind of dance. We take three steps forward and one step back. Now that we are all vaccinated with our second dose of the vaccine, Mom’s facility has stopped all visits because there is fear that the vaccine will not protect against the COVID variants. We are reduced once again to calling her via video chat which does not engage her attention. Our hearty hellos fall hollow and we are often wind up silently watching Mom sit at her table either playing with a children’s game or staring into space.
Yes, sometimes Mom is in a good mood and the calls are better. But there are no guarantees that when we reach her, she’ll respond.
This is not what I imagined or hoped for at this point in the pandemic. I was overly optimistic that I would be able to have physical contact with Mom, to hug her and engage her in one-on-one activities. Neither my dad nor I are satisfied with this arrangement. The least we can hope for now is to see via video that Mom is ok and that the staff are still responsive to her needs. (There are hints that the visitation at Mom’s facility will change soon. We’re waiting.)
What we have noticed on our video calls is that Mom has stopped wearing her glasses. We assume but don’t know if this is because the glasses have somehow become uncomfortable. We are now in conversation with the lovely optometrist who wrote the prescription for Mom’s glasses to visit her in her home. But the care facility requires that anyone from outside who enters must have either a certification of vaccination or a negative Corona test from the last 48 hours.
Same for a dentist. Mom’s bottom teeth seem to be cracking and we’re worried about her overall dental health. On the video, they look almost black. It is entirely possible that she refuses to allow the staff to brush her teeth on a daily basis, but there might be something else going on. It is so challenging to care for her with this distance between us. As an alternative, we’re looking into the possibility of taking Mom out of her facility for a dental visit. What a nightmare that could be!
We’re not really sure why these responsibilities are ours, especially during this difficult time, but we are trying to rise to the occasion and find creative solutions to assist Mom.
Meanwhile, I haven’t written for the last two weeks because as part of the sandwich generation, I’ve been helping my son and his family during this latest lockdown. Kindergartens are still not operating so I’ve been there a couple days a week in order to give Rafi a little extra time to study for his university exams. This week, I guiltily stayed home and prepared an awesome birthday cake for my youngest who turned 22. His real birthday present was a second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. “Dose dos,” at 22, as my husband pointed out. I really can’t believe that my baby is so old.
Where does all this leave me? Frustrated, guilty, apprehensive. I’m trying to flip these feelings to more positive ones. I would rather feel satisfied, unapologetic and confident. The air is warm, the sun is shining, birds are singing, and I am protected both within the love of my family and the strength of the vaccine. Things are looking up. I have to look up, too.
Even though Israel has experienced one of the warmest winters on record, it is still chilly at night. Perfect for an aromatic bowl of soup. We love orange soup in our house. Usually I throw in a combination of pumpkin, carrots and sweet potato, but this recipe is quite different and the taste is rich and exotic. That’s what happens when you add an apple and curry to an orange soup.
Curried Sweet Potato Soup
This is a savory soup with a bit of sweetness. Perfect for a chilly evening.
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
1 Tbsp curry powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
4-5 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
6-8 cups water
1 apple, peeled and chopped
2 Tbsp date honey
Salt and pepper to taste
Fry onions in oil a large pot. When onions begin to brown, add curry powder and garlic and sauté for a minute. Add carrots and sweet potato, water, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Water should cover the vegetables. Use less water for a thicker soup. Turn down to simmer for about 25 minutes. When vegetables are soft, add apple and honey. Continue on simmer until apples are soft. Using a stick blender, blend soup right in the pot. Season with more salt, pepper and honey if desired. Serve with an extra sprinkle of curry on top.
Photo by Liora Green