Monday Memories With My Mom

The Adventures of Caring for a Mom With Alzheimer's Disease
      We were able to get my mom to what has always seemed to be her favorite holiday celebration of the year.  My cousin graciously hosted this year's Christmas Eve for about 30 of us this year.  Christmas Eve has been celebrated with my mom's side of the family since I can remember.  I picked up my mom a few hours before the party was to begin.  I had to have her change her clothes and tried to do her hair and put some makeup on her.  This was not too easy as I was also pressed for time and baking the potatoes to bring for the dinner.  However, we managed.  Kristin helped me.  When we first got there, she seemed to have no idea it was Christmas Eve.  In the car she asked repeatedly where we were going, who was having the party, and where her niece lives.  She has been there at least twice before.  
     Interestingly, when I stopped answering the questions and instead said, "I think you know the answer" she usually does then say the correct answer.  So, after exhausting other attempts at changing the conversation, I played a little game when the questions again started in the car on our way to the party later on.  When we asked her, my mom did in fact have the answers.  So, as you would with a younger child, I told her she was a smarty pants!  Well, she and my kids thought this was good stuff.  So, when I would say, "I think you know the answer you little smarty pants", she would then give the correct answer and a small celebration would take place.  I realize this may sound crazy (it is)...just trying to make the best of a difficult situation!
     Some good news...we got our White Christmas!!  Not as good...it was exactly at the time we were leaving the house.  The roads were icey and I was glad I had picked up my mom before the weather and roads and sidewalks got so bad.  Our 15 minute trip took almost 30 minutes.  Mom might have missed out if the timing had been different.
     My mom seemed okay during the party.  She spent most of her time talking at a table with her two brothers.  To be honest, I didn't stay with her the whole time.  In comparison to last year Christmas Eve,  I would say she was more subdued.  As far as I know, she did not ask for wine.  This was a big deal to her last year.  She appeared less talkative and probably more repetitive.  My kids reported her eating tons of cookies while sitting at the table!  (Ha - YOLO!)  I took her dinner away after she nibbled most of it.  As I said, all in all, I would say she was quieter than last year.  Maybe because last year it was at my house?  Maybe just because. Regardless, that is where she would want to be.
Present Opening Time
My Mom's Great Niece, Maddy (almost 2), Was Blowing A Kiss
 To My Mom (so cute) and I Happened to Catch the Action
     My brother had worked all day (he's a firefighter), so I felt bad having him take my mom home, but grateful he offered and for the break.  Funny story... when he was packing up his car to take her home, I asked if he had her walker.  He proudly said, "yep, it's already in the car".  (Yikes, say what??)  It was super slippery outside, my cousin's driveway is a hill, and my mom falls in her apartment without snow or obstacles...  I took a deep breath and said, "ok"!  I let it go. I could use a break and some help.  If I micro manage I will never get it!  Of course, I would never take my mom outside that way.  However, I reminded myself he is big strong fireman and tried to let it go.  His car wasn't even pulled closest to the door....  However, they did make it to the car without incident.  I did not watch!! 
     That was Christmas 2012 with mom...  On Christmas Day when I asked her if she had fun at the Christmas Eve party she said, "yes, weren't you invited"??  (Yes, mom, I was that girl who picked you up, got ya dressed, bought the presents, answered your questions and hesitantly sent you home with your son.)
     I know she enjoyed it...while she was in the moment!!



Jennifer said...

I think what we all really want to know is, WHO HAS THOSE STAINED GLASS WINDOWS????

Also, your mom wanted to know if WB was a twin? She probably asked me half dozen times? Finally I was just like, umm, maybe, but I don't know where the other one is?

Cindy said...

Oh, I didn't know about the twin thing. She also asked me who Stacey's twin was when we were driving there. Now I have to see if she remembers J and K are twins. Yea, I did know about the stained glass window ordeal... Where is WB's twin anyway??

Jennifer said...

I'm not sure! By the end of the night I was wondering if maybe he was a twin!!

Arlene - Caregiver ordinaire said...

Hi, I love this story! What a great, patient, loving family. Unfortunately, I think, quiet comes over time with this illness. Enjoy those sweet moments - I love the photo! Your Mom looks so happy to be surrounded by your family. :)