Add to or take away?
My mother lives with me and my husband. She is very sharp, yet still has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's so there are some challenges she faces on a daily basis. Thankfully at this point her condition is considered moderate.
Mom has always been very intelligent. She has always read like a mad woman which I am sure is much to her credit in keeping her mind sharp in many ways at 89 years. Perhaps the short term memory is not what it used to be but I see my mom in the questions she asks and the things she notices. It never ceases to amaze me. It is especially in these times that I become aware of what is added to my life through her observations.
It was time to head out for one of our weekly doctor appointments. Sometimes it is so easy to feel that these appointments are taking me away from something I would rather be doing. It was a 30 minute drive and my mind was on getting us ready and out the door without mom feeling rushed as that really upsets her. Rushing is no longer something she deals with very well. She feels flustered and it makes her cry and that is the last thing I want for her. She is such a kind soul and only wants a good day for us in every way. So we work together throughout the morning to get us out the door peacefully. She loves to get out even if it's taking a ride to the doctor's office.
We load in the car and get settled. Seat belts on, mirrors checked. Ready to go. Mom's breathing is heavy as she settles in. She uses a walker and even with a slow pace it can still be a lot for her going from one place to another. I remind her to put her seat belt on, she complies, and off we go. My mind is on the route we are going to take, the stream of traffic we are entering into and the store we pass reminding me that we have to stop on the way home to pick up more graham crackers.
Mom's focus is on settling in, being sure her purse is in the right place and that her drink is next to her. All is well. As I am driving, I hear my mother's voice "Paula do you see those mountains???"
"I'm driving mom."
"Well, they are just beautiful today! Look at the lighting on them! There is light at the bottom and shadows near the top due to the clouds above them. It makes me think we could just walk right up that mountain into the clouds!",
"That's great. I'm driving mom."
"Paula, do you see that sky??? Look over here by me and it's a pale blue but when you look over by you it is just the bluest blue! Look at those shades of blue across that sky, it's really something!"
"Yes that does look nice mom. I"m focused on the road so I can't look around much right now."
"I know dear I understand I want you to keep your eyes on the road."
"Oh my look at those clouds! The ones over that mountain are so soft it makes you want to touch them; but look at these over here, this one looks almost flat - isn't that something? Look the ones way over there are gray and you can see the rain coming down the center of them to the ground....why do you think the rain comes down in just one place of the cloud that way? I think it's because of the weight of the moisture in that particular area of the cloud."
"I think you're right on that." I secretly steal a few glances at the mountain and the sky and the clouds and the rain "over there". My mother is an artist, she's painted for over 50 years of her life. She is noticing details I have not thought twice about; the colors, the shading, the lighting.
As I steal a few glimpses, I notice the mountains and the sky and the clouds as I have not seen them before......in all their glory.
I was so busy driving us to our destination that I was missing the beauty along the way.
As we pulled up to the doctor's office I was quietly thinking of how much mom had ADDED to the way I viewed my day and that I would now look at the sky and the mountains differently. It really changed my focus that day from what I felt this appointment was taking AWAY from me to what the drive and narrative had ADDED. I felt really thankful to have my mother the artist in the passenger's seat sharing how she saw things, just sharing her point of view.. She didn't try to push her enthusiasm on me, she was just sharing her insights and joy and it just happened to catch my attention from my driver's seat. It literally changed my perspective and made the journey to the doctor's office a quick and interesting one. As I handed her the walker, I gave her a hug and thanked her for sharing about her mountains and clouds and sky. She hugged me back. A great ADDition to the day.
Blessings and enjoy the view ~
Your Personal Coach,
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