There are all kinds of pleasant happenings going on around here now, at the end of our summer. Steve and I went out Thursday night! I found a most beautiful Blue Jay feather and saved it. I baked Lemon Limoncello cupcakes (with Mom's help) for dessert. I saw an ultrasound photo of our new grandchild. Mari sent me a beautiful drawing she made of princesses. I'm watching a zucchini in the garden grow inches per day, right before my very eyes. The list goes on...
More than these beautiful things, I think I am learning new life lessons. For one, I am revisiting Parenting 101. All the mishandled opportunities when our children were little and I lost my temper, or focus, or teachable moment; I get to do over with my mom. I'm only slightly more patient now than when our children were little. (Patience is not one of my natural inclinations.) So, when I have to ask four times if she wants an ice cream cone and a cookie or just an ice cream cone and I'm still smiling when I deliver the ice cream cone, I know I've handled myself well. I've often wished I could have a do-over of some of my worst parenting moments and here is my chance. Sort of. I am ever learning and growing.
Today brought back so many memories of having children. I got to relive how clumsy and difficult it is to unload gear from the trunk and push live beings in strollers around at the mall. It's no different with a wheelchair. For goodness sake, why doesn't Sears have automatic doors?! Remember pushing the strollers though tightly packed clothing racks? The kids enjoyed the jungle feel of it. Mom, not so much. She was brushed in the face with a large share of bathrobes and sleepwear today.
Today also clearly showed me how our society (for which the shopping mall is one glaring example) is geared toward the young, fit, and beautiful. From the loud, pulsating music piped throughout the mall, to the racks of clothing not suitable for anyone over twelve, to the make up and hairstyles, posters and mannequins, it all felt utterly ridiculous from my perspective today. I viewed everything from behind my mom's gray head and her hunched little form as I pushed her along in her wheelchair. I thought, "She is completely out of place here." Mom has lived through the 20's, the 30's, the 40's, all the decades up to now and this mall could care less about her. Granted, I don't think she cared much about the mall either. It had its place and time in her past; she ruled the shopping scene in the 60's and 70's. On high heels. But, she's standing at the the threshold of eternal life and this place has nothing to offer her anymore. For all the shopping mall's loudness and color and life... it was all dust.
The biggest lesson I am learning is how incredibly self-centered I am. If you spend 24/7 with an elderly person who needs a lot of assistance, you begin to realize how often you think about yourself. I am constantly thinking about what I want to do, what I can't do, what I resent not being able to do, what I used to do, what I want to do when I finally can do it...me, me, me. Oh my gosh, I'm entirely sick of myself!
We're coping and managing one day at a time. It's such a cliché, but that's what it boils down to.