Monday, May 31, 2010

My Real Mom for a Moment

I adopted a new horse last week. He's just a baby and my horse friends have been awesome at celebrating this first for me, complete with an "it's a boy" baby shower! (I called it a "bridle" shower.) My Mom totally got the humor behind it all and is thrilled to have the It's a Boy helium balloon here at home now. She loves looking at the adorable light blue Teddy bears.

"Trend" as he's called, went to his first horse show this weekend and I took My Mom out to meet him. I can't tell you enough times how much she detested animals and barn smells while we were growing up, and now she's now practically Dr. Dolittle. She loves our two dogs and Bug Kitty and she's now the very proud grandma of a 3-year-old horse, acting like she's had horses her entire life.

More celebrations ensued this weekend, including a champagne toast to the new horse. I included two other friends who are also new moms to young horses and I was even more pleased to offer a far more special toast. Although it's always sad to see parents in decline, I'm so proud at the number of my horse friends that are rising to the occasion and caring for their parents. I raised my glass in a toast to them Saturday, but want to acknowledge them again here. Maren, Jacki and Jules all have parents in varying stages of dementia, but they are each being women and daughters anyone would be proud of by stepping in as caregivers to their parents and doing a great job.

We're forming a little mini community where we can share advice and vent frustrations with each other. As we end the weekend, my biggest advice is to not only enjoy the little moments you often hear about, but to not forget sometimes they need to be created.

Now that I'm two years into this experience, I'm relying more on caregivers, which means I don't often take My Mom to the places I once did. My reasons are loving and genuine -- I need a break and she's becoming increasingly anxious in unfamiliar surroundings. This weekend I wasn't riding, so it seemed reasonable to take her along with me to the show. I'm so glad I did.

On the first afternoon we placed chairs in the shade near the stables where we could watch the show from a distance. The atmosphere was incredibly peaceful. "Now this is what I like," she said. I felt the warm breeze, I looked at the rolling green countryside and then I looked at My Mom sitting next to me, both of us taking in the beauty all around us, and I thought "me too." I'm thrilled with the moments when she's genuinely happy in her new life. I was so pleased with her love for the outdoors, I took her back again the next day.

This time we faced a totally different set of circumstances and in the end, she's the one that had a chance to spread happiness. The champagne toast cocktail party with a bunch of loud, excited women telling stories on top of each other and howling laughing proved a bit overwhelming for My Mom. She was edgy and ready to head home. Instead of leaving immediately, I moved a few chairs out front to the peaceful little plot of earth we occupied the day before. I wanted to try and relive the incredible feeling of having My Mom back for a few moments just like I had experienced the previous evening. Soon others joined and we had a little circle out front -- the perfect place for my show-off Mom to entertain! At my encouragement, I admit, she launched into her Scottish songs, followed by standards from the Sound of Music and Annie. She had the whole gang singing along and two of our youngest girls squealing with laughter when she'd point to them and give them a "boop, boop, boop" when she didn't know the words.

At first it seemed selfish for wanting to stay, but if I would have jumped and packed her in the car at the first sign of anxiousness, one of the brightest parts of the evening would have never seen the light of day.

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