This morning finds me up extra early to prepare for a quick out of town trip. As I assemble all of the necessities we need for Mom, I realize how life has come full circle. Remember all the stuff a weekend trip needed when traveling with very young children? Bags of diapers, wipes, medicines (in case), toys, strollers, booster seat, favorite pillows, blankets, and that special stuffed animal. One bag contained clothing for the days of the trip plus three or four extra outfits for spills.
Twenty years later, and I pack Depends instead of Pampers. The medications have their own small Rubbermaid tub. I swing a wheelchair into the back of the station wagon instead of a stroller, and I juggle two purses instead of a purse and diaper bag. Mom doesn’t have a favorite stuffed animal, but she takes along her favorite pillow and comforter. I make certain I have the lidded cups she now uses along with the bendable straws and plenty of water to drink on the three hour drive. One bag contains extra clothing in case driving three hours wears Mom out and our one day trip turns into a longer stay until she regains strength.
Mom asked for this trip a few days ago. For some reason, she has this sudden drive to do things while she still has the energy. On some level, I believe she suspects that even short outings may become too difficult before the year ends.
Someone thoughtlessly said to me a couple of months ago, “You’re taking care of your mother full time now? I mean, this has dragged on for years!” Her tone of voice carried intolerance and a hint of disbelief, as though she couldn’t believe someone can have a disease that slowly narrows life into counting only good days.
For us, celebrating good days comes easily. So today we’ll attempt the longest car ride Mom’s done in a couple of years. With luck, she’ll spend a wonderful day and evening with her eldest daughter and make it back to San Antonio with energy to spare. Maybe this trip will be so successful that she’ll plan a trip back to her own home in League City. If fortune follows us, we’ll be leaving town again.
Copyright 2011 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman