That’s a direct quote from Mom to my question of her Thanksgiving day about what she was thankful for! Mom’s answer was simply perfect and fitting for me as well. I’m absolutely thankful for everything too! How could I not be? I’ve just completed an amazing month in November, and it’s taken me an entire day and a half to process everything that’s happened. I set two goals for myself for November, to sell at least 100 books and to do at least one thing each day in honor of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. I’m thrilled that I accomplished both goals. I confess that one organization accounted for half of the book sales, but given that it is an organization that oversees caregivers and those who speaks for the elderly who are unable to speak for themselves, it could not have worked out better. I’m honored that my book was selected as one of the Holiday gifts for this group of Montgomery County employees. I’m looking forward to giving the keynote speech at their holiday luncheon this coming Friday.
In terms of doing and learning one Alzheimer’s related thing each day, I can’t begin to explain how wonderful an experience that was. I was a guest on a radio show for the first time, I signed a petition and wrote a letter urging Congress to approve funds to find a cure for Alzheimer’s by 2025, I spoke at a memory care center, and participated in group discussions on a variety of Alzheimer’s websites, and Facebook pages, I donated books to libraries and foundations, and received word that I have been accepted to participate next March in the highly acclaimed Festival of the Book in Charlottesville, co-sponsored by the University of Virginia. It was a whirlwind month and I totally enjoyed it!!
Mostly I’m thankful for the fact that I had an awesome time this holiday with two of my greatest loves – my Mom and my granddaughter, with a bit of time spent with the two of them together. My Mom had a great day on Thanksgiving I’d say. We read prayers together, and I listened to her read the Thanksgiving card I gave her over and over. I’m not sure she remembered my name on that day, so I’m glad I signed her card in BIG LETTERS – LOVE LORETTA. It was the morning of Thanksgiving Day that we took Kendal to see Mom for their second visit.
What a difference two years make in these photos!! Kendal was ready for her nap, but she was a good sport with Mom. Mom really enjoyed the visit, continually saying “hi!!!!!” and waving at Kendal, not remembering at all that being around little kids used to cause her lots of anxiety.
Kim and I decided that on their next visit Kendal and Mom will do an activity together like a working on a puzzle or coloring. That will be fun to watch! I hope I’ll be able to explain to Kendal why Mom won’t remember who she is when she visits because Kendal already remembers EVERYONE’S names, even those she’s only met once.
The rest of the Thanksgiving weekend was all about baking and building gingerbread houses. It turned out to be more about cousins and parents bonding than actually getting all those gingerbread pieces into houses that stood up. What did stand out clearly about the last few days was the love of family. Kim and I stirred, sifted, cut and baked more than 100 pieces of gingerbread over two days, and we talked endlessly as parents and friends. Our time with Tim’s nephew Mark, his wife Laura and their kids, and Kim’s cousin Vanessa and her kids was amazing! Tim’s awesome breakfast got the event started and allowed us to have our own spirit-filled fellowship on a Sunday morning even though we weren’t physically in a church building. We laughed and talked and ate. I also had a great talk with my son-in-law Herb as the kids ran and jumped and ate a LOT of candy intended to be part of the gingerbread decorations. I discovered that Vanessa also has the desire to publish a book and we had a great conversation about book topics and what’s next in our lives. There was true gift of spirit in the room.
As yesterday drew to a close, the kids were really proud of their creations, even though some of the houses were missing a roof!
As we took pics of the kids with their Creativity Awards we made for them, they waved their certificates with pride in their accomplishments! It was exactly what I had hoped for! We may not have built perfect gingerbread houses, but what we did build for Kendal, Mark Jr, Nia, Victoria, Jonathan and baby William was a true house of learning, laughter, love and just plain old fun! Our experience with the gingerbread houses taught me that it was just like a real FAMILY …. there are times that all the pieces may not fit well together, and they may even come unglued at times, but through it all you’re still family!!And for that, I’m THANKFUL!!