Why Thanksgiving dinner was late

“Dinner will be in another hour or so,” my sister Diane greets us as we walk in the door.

“Oh! Are we early?” I ask, checking my watch.  I’m the drum major,  leading the parade into her kitchen.

Diane faces me, smiling.  Ginger Rogers-style, I take three steps backward, out of the conversation circle. Diane is Fred Astaire, stepping forward in time with me.

Diane whispers through her smile. “At some point today, Mom turned the oven off, with the turkey roasting in it.  We think it was around noon.” Diane smiles and shrugs lightheartedly.  “She was helping.”

I smile nervously and give Diane a hug.

“Our best guess is that an extra hour is enough to thoroughly roast the turkey,” she continues.  “We just need to be flexible on the actual dinnertime, OK?”  I marvel again at my sister’s calm.

I step into the living room to find Mom sulking, having been asked to excuse herself from the  dinner preparation. Dad is pacing back and forth, brow furrowed.  I take a deep breath.

“Looks like we have time for a game before dinner!” I say with enthusiasm. “What’s it going to be?”

Since our lives are simple compared to what each day as a Caregiver asks of our Dad, my sister and I were able to take a breath, chose a calm response, and flavor our response to this twist with humor.  What we found is that this approach opened up possibilities for us to love-each-other-through-it-all.  

Think about it.  You could give your Caregiver a precious gift by reminding them that a response like this is available for them to use too.   One good demonstration from you could be enough to show your Caregiver how they might approach some of the surprises that come their way each day.  

Happy Thanksgiving!

Your Friend on the Journey,

Barbara

Mother’s Day Joy

“A-ha!” Mom exclaims as she gives the Mylar smiley-face balloon a poke. Back it floats, as she lets out a triumphant chuckle.

Up he comes again. “Umph!” she says, poking him away.  She shakes her head and grins as Smiley floats back into her reach.

Dad is sitting across from us.  His smile is the biggest I’ve seen in years. 

“Take that!” Mom gives Smiley another playful poke. Her grin erupts into a smile as he returns, as if asking her to keep the game going.

By now, Dad is laughing out loud.  Mom obliges him, and for his amusement she keeps Smiley dancing.

I hand Dad my phone and give him a brief camera lesson.  He fiddles with it, while Mom and I give Smiley a real workout.

Click.

I exhale and smile.  Today, this one time,  I chose the perfect Mother’s Day gift.  Perfect for my Mom.  Perfect for how she is today. Perfect for Mom’s first Mother’s Day in the Memory Cottage.

I find myself feeling thankful for creating this moment of joy for all of us.  I lean in and give Mom a kiss.

Click.

Life with an Alzheimer’s Loved One brings so many moments.  When you are blessed with a great one, try to remember to pause, notice and give thanks.

If you are struggling for a gift idea for your Alzheimer’s Loved One, consider bringing something playful and fun.  A good laugh can work miracles.   Creating Moments of Joy for the Person with Alzheimer’s or Dementia by Jolene Brackey is super resource for ideas.