My sister and brother-n-law appeared on our doorstep yesterday afternoon to give David and I a break from caring for my mother. I cannot describe the relief that flooded through me since it's been six weeks since our last break. The first item on my agenda? To head to the store for grocery shopping. I had one egg in the fridge and two heels in the bread box. Instead of rushing through the store, I took my time, making certain I gathered every ingredient for this next week's meals.
Everyone pitched in to cook tacos for dinner, and then my sister met the challenge of Mom's nightly obsessive routine: bed, family room, bed, family room, bed, bowl of ice cream, bed, bathroom, bed, family room. Fatigue finally pulled Mom into sleep around 9 o'clock.
David and I grabbed our tooth brushes and a change of clothes and headed to our son's house a few blocks away. We usually stay home when my siblings come to help, but that means we still hear the demanding little bell pinging in the morning. This visit we decided we really needed a solid night of sleep. We'll all gather for an early lunch. If Mom's up to it, we'll take her to Cheddars. We've found that if we get to a restaurant early enough, before the crowds or noise, Mom can handle eating out.
I don't know how to spend the remainder of our free day. I toy with the idea of running to Target or Walmart to grab a paperback. A book geared for escapism, but that I can finish in two days. I think David will entertain himself with games and guitars. He's actually painting again and has a piece up on the easel.
If I have learned anything through my mother's experience, it is to find joy in the simple things. Spending an evening listening to my son's latest vacation adventures, getting to finish a cup of tea before it turns lukewarm, sleeping past sunrise on a Saturday morning become precious commodities.
Copyright 2012 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman