It’s January 30th and I’m incredibly happy!! Usually by now many people have totally given up on their New Year’s resolutions or at least started to lose focus on them. My resolution this year was No Expectations. In my mind it’s a very appropriate resolution for anyone with a parent with dementia and an energetic 2 year old granddaughter.
Thus far, it’s working out perfectly – better than I could have imagined. I get up each day, and just accept whatever comes!! When Kendal needed breathing treatments, I was worried, but I just jumped in and learned how to work the breathing machine. When I’ve taken Mom out this month, I’ve let whatever was going to happen happen. When Mom repeats things, talks loudly and gets scared, I don’t panic. I just think, No Expectations …. and it just works out.
Yesterday, I became convinced that my resolution is really working on all levels. A routine trip to Walgreens for a prescription turned into a 2 hour trip to Mom’s group home and back to Walgreens because of a refill misunderstanding. Even worse, this all occurred during rush hour! In the past, a wasted trip combined WITH rush hour would have really upset me. But last night, I just turned up the radio and sang along with my favorite songs.
Then there’s my book. Before January, when someone sent me an email or called me and said they were thinking about buying or recommending my book or having me speak at an event, I’d get so excited,almost bursting with anticipation. BUT then usually…. Nothing would come of it. Or people would tell me they’d write a review for me on Amazon, or let me know what they thought about the book, but didn’t follow through. It was hard to hear the word no, or worse, nothing at all. BUT when January rolled around, I asked myself why I became disappointed when things didn’t go the way I wanted regarding my book.
The answer was easy. It’s because I felt that if EVERYONE didn’t have my book, then I was somehow letting Mom and the Alzheimer’s cause down. Turns out that couldn’t be further from the truth. If Mom could still FEEL proud of me, she absolutely would be. How do I know that? Because just like my New Year’s resolution, Mom never had expectations for Renee and I either. She never set the bar so high for us that we’d feel like failures if we didn’t achieve the highest of the high. She just wanted us to be good and kind people, and for anything above that, she was thrilled with our accomplishments. So, on January 1st, the book fell into the same category as everything else. No expectations….. And Guess what??? GREAT things have happened. It’s ALL Good!! Truth is, Mom would be thrilled that I even wrote a book about her, much less sold some.
Now I have just one more thing on my mind and truthfully it’s hard not to have expectations about it. It’s Mom’s 85th birthday, coming up on February 18th. I’m planning a small gathering with light lunch and an awesome cake made by Kim. I’m inviting my cousins and my niece, and maybe Mom’s lifelong friend Mrs. Adams. BUT…… you know what’s coming…..what if it doesn’t go well? What if Mom doesn’t want to come to my house that day? What if she’s not having a good day?
Recently Mom is really starting to have issues with her speech, and it’s more profound every time I see her. I wonder what people’s reaction to her will be on her birthday. When she speaks and reads now, it sounds as if she’s one of those computer voices. She pronounces every syllable in a very emphatic way. So an excerpt from our visit yesterday went something like this. “HELL-OOO LOR-RET-TAAA! THANK-KK YOOOOOOO-U FORRR COMM-INGGG TO SEEE ME. I AMMMMM READ-DINGG NOWW”. OK, so you get the picture. I have a video clip of Mom reading Paul’s book that I could upload, but it’s almost painful to watch.
So here’s what I’ve decided while writing this. I’m going to have a short party with lunch, and cake, and we’ll take lots of pictures. And I’m going to force myself to have NO EXPECTATIONS on that day too. Just because it’s a milestone birthday doesn’t mean it has to be perfect, or that SHE has to be perfect. Whatever happens, happens and it will STILL be great simply because she’s reached a great milestone in her life!! So Mom, I’m looking forward to your birthday. You can read out loud, or talk as loudly as you want, and it will be just fine!! Love you Mom!!
A most excellent blog post, Loretta.
Just a random thought–what if your friends sent birthday wishes (cards) to your mother, or would that be too confusing for her if she didn’t know who they were? You could tell he they were your friends, remembering her birthday.