Friday, January 31, 2014

Playing Hooky

My heart has been heavy recently.  We're approaching, at ever-increasing speeds, the next phase of care for my mother because her Alzheimer's Disease is getting much worse.  There is information to be gathered and decisions to be made and tears to be shed.  Weighty stuff.

Today I sort of wanted to run away from those thoughts and from other responsibilities, so this morning I called Dad and told him I was going to take a load of things to recycling and then was going to a farmer's market and could Mom please come along?  Of course she could.

The thing is, I was trying to give my dad a break from the 24-7 care he has been providing for my mom; but in the meantime, I got blessed by a joyous, peaceful, memory-making morning with my mom.

As we rode along through the countryside, she commented on the airplane trails we could see in the sky.  Josiah and David played the cow game--the one where you count the number of cows on your side of the car, and whoever has the most at the end of your ride wins; but if you see a graveyard on your side, you have to bury all your cows and start at zero.  :)  We saw an Old Order Mennonite lady hanging laundry out on her clothesline and remarked that her hands must have been cold.  I pointed out houses that I admired, all of which had lovely front porches.  Mom saw horses and exclaimed over them.  She told me--again--how grateful she is to have grown up on a farm, and also how much she loves this area, and also how she's so happy to live in the country and wouldn't want to live in the city--all of which are things I've heard many times, but I didn't mind hearing them all again today.  :)  Moriah rode along quietly and tore a paper napkin to shreds; I don't even know how she got it!  Tobin from his seat in the back of the van sang robustly, "I have a dream!  I have a dream!  I have a dream!"  Shav, who is at the stage of being very impressed by people who can count really high, practiced his counting.  The day was sunny, and so was my heart.

When we got to the farmer's market, the boys climbed into a little carriage behind a horse statue and shook the reins to practice their driving.  :)  We meandered up and down the market, peeking in shops here and there.  I drooled over the lovely (and reasonably-priced!) quilts.  Tobin told me that when he grows up, he wants me to drive him to that market again so he can buy one of the saddles there (since he's going to be a cowboy).  ;-)  In the toy store, we found the neatest carved wooden marble track I've ever seen.  We didn't buy it because it cost about $250.  ;-)  We looked at colorful aprons and wooden treasure chests and little signs with funny sayings on them.  We watched the water wheel turn around, and the boys each threw a coin into the water.  Well, Josiah and David each threw their coins into the middle of the wheel, and we watched them bounce around for a while before they fell out and sunk into the water.  We bought taco seasoning and raspberry jello and apple chips and dried peaches.  We sampled several dips and chose one to bring home and eat with chips for lunch.  The boys asked for bags of candies and other goodies, so I let them talk together and decide which one to choose from the half-off rack; they chose red and green gummy Christmas trees.  :)  We noticed Robert E. Lee's picture hanging on the wall; and as we left, we bought a big bag of kettle corn from the stand outside.

We counted more cows as we drove home, and I played a trick on the boys by turning down a road we didn't need to go on, just because I knew it had a graveyard (my paternal grandparents are buried there) and they would have to bury their cows.  Josiah was jubilant when he saw the graveyard, since it was on David's side and Josiah knew he would gain quite an advantage; but then I pulled past the graveyard, turned around, and came back on the same road.  With the graveyard now on his side, Josiah had to bury his cows, too.  ;-)  We took the back way home, wended our way around Mole Hill, waved to people on tractors, and came up our neighbor Douglas's long lane.  It was a beautiful morning.  A gift.

We didn't do any official homeschooling all morning--and in fact, all day!  The rest of the day was filled with other activities, so we took a true day off from school.  I believe that was exactly what we needed to do today.

Knowing that the time is limited that my mother will still be living here at home, I feel like I'm grabbing on with both hands and seizing these days, trying to make the most of the time we have left before we move on to the next stage.  I'm so glad Mother came along with us today...

...and so glad she had lunch with us yesterday and spent part of the afternoon with us.  Besides eating lunch, she dried some dishes for me, watched an episode of The Andy Griffith Show with the boys, fed yogurt to Moriah, and looked at a photo album from 2007 with Tobin and Shav.
Treasured moments.

As I was thinking about writing this post, I remembered that back in the middle of December, I had begun a post about an afternoon that Mother spent with us up here at our house; but I had never finished it.  Why not finish it now?  :)

On that afternoon, Mother read one of Shav's favorite books, We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen, to him.
She washed some dishes for me as the bright afternoon sunlight slanted in the window.
Moriah kept us company in the kitchen.  ;-)
Grandma watched a movie with the boys.

Simple things.  Normal things.

Passing things.  :(

While she's still here, I will strive even more to notice and appreciate and enjoy these things.  And who knows?  We just might play hooky again someday, so we can make more memories together.  :)


bekahcubed said...

What a lovely day to soak in some of those fleeting moments. There are more than a few similarities between Alzheimer's and childhood; but one of the most profound is that every stage goes on to the next and you have to enjoy your loved one in each SO YOU DON'T MISS IT.

It's so great that you and your kids are getting to fully appreciate this current season with your mother.

Emily said...

What a bittersweet post. I hear the loss and sadness but also the joy. What a blessing it is that you can live so close and spend the extra time creating memories. I will continue to pray for you and your family as you continue down this hard road.

Miriam said...

I am so glad that you're able to do these things with her, creating (clinging to?) memories not only for YOU but also for your children. I did wonder if/how much your boys understand or know about your mother's Alzheimers and the path you're all walking right now?

sally said...

Precious times! You make so many wise choices. I hope (and I know) that even when your mother doesn't live at home any more, you will still do lots of special things together with her and make lots of memories. It is a sad transition, as I experienced when my grandmother moved to the Home, but there are still ways to show love to her and have enjoyable times together. And, I will not deny it, a lot of things are so much easier with her being at the Home. I guess I just want to say that when changes come, it't not the end, it's just a change. Some things are different.

Anonymous said...

I love the cow game!!! You have to bury all your cows? Ha ha ha!

I'm sorry these days and adventures are fleeting but I;m glad you are making the most of your time and holding onto the treasures.