Meet Sly.  (Pictured above.) He’s a resident at my mom’s new home and spent the first couple of days welcoming her by taking his naps in her room, knocking her drinks off the table, and being undeniably cute.

The journey of caring for my aging mom continues. We managed to get her moved to a new care facility that is closer to home and has memory care.

The days preceding the move were tough … tough … tough. (I’m thankful that so many were praying … it took an army of pray-ers, for sure.)

It’s too soon to see how well she’s adjusting, but as I keep an eye on things, I’m reflecting on how much I’ve learned so far and that there are good things in hard times.

I’ve learned that you can lace an Italian soda with Ensure Clear and no one seems to notice the difference. This is DEFINITELY a good thing. (I tried to convince the local coffee shop in an area with lots of senior citizens to put it on their menu and give me a cut in the profits.)

I’ve learned that if toddler years appear tough … or teaching middle schoolers … or surviving high school drama … nothing really matches a strong-willed senior citizen who wants to go home but doesn’t want to leave.

We sat by Mom’s bed for hours waiting for her to decide she could do this (go to her new home).  In the interim, Leon watched me mindlessly scroll through my phone as means of distraction after several unsuccessful attempts at motivating Mom.  He finally asked, “Is there anything on there on how to move a stubborn woman?”  

Ha!

I’ve learned that it seems a little mean to hide meds in applesauce or pudding … but I don’t really care anymore.  It works.

I’ve learned that I can tear up at a smile and laugh at being told to, “Please remove yourself.”

I’ve learned that telling my mother that she isn’t talking very nicely to the nurse who is just trying to help her get into her chair and on to her appointments is … hysterical.  Mom looked directly at the nurse, smiled, and said, “PLEASE, go away.”

I’ve learned that …

… hearing the same story for the 30th time (often in the same day) is irritating but won’t kill me.

… CNA’s have a yucky job.

… CNA’s have a thankless job.

… CNA’s and nurses who love their job and who aren’t afraid of dementia … well, I want to buy them a new car  or a new house or new shoes or something. (I bought them flowers.)

… trying to convince a senior citizen who doesn’t feel well to get dressed is harder than convincing a middle schooler who hates school to finish homework   It’s all like pushing string with the mistaken idea that we’re going to magically move from point “a” to point “b”.

Nada.

I’ve learned that my circle of friends has gradually changed.  The average age of the people I talk to the most daily is 80. Most of them scuttle about in wheel chairs and start our conversations with, “What’s your name?” or “Have I met you before?”  or “What are you in here for.”

I’ve learned that I don’t really mind listening to the problems of my friends in wheel chairs or having to just grin and nod because I’m not sure what they’re saying to me.  I’ve come to adore the smiles on their faces that result from just a moment or two of time.

I’ve learned that EVERYONE needs a friend.

I’ve learned to wrestle through the guilt of former thinking … when I believed (silently, of course) that maybe it would be merciful if some people could just hurry up and be done with this life because their lives seems so hard, mundane, meaningless … so sad.

I’ve learned that I’m wrong about that kind of thinking because the smallest moment can create the greatest day … and it’s not for me to decide what those moments should look like or what God might still be finishing in someone else …. or in me.

I’ve learned that there is yet a lot of learning to go …

A few glimpses of Mom’s new “stomping” grounds:

 

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