Flashback: On a bright, crisp, sunny day in February 2012, Mom and I went to a small winter fair “in town.”
There were tents, skating rinks, barbecues, music, and lots of children. Mom loved children. I remember her telling the story of how ducks skate on frozen lakes to my two young cousins when they were little girls. The three of them snuggled in a big armchair as snow fell outside. They giggled and laughed at the thought of drakes on skates, slipping and sliding on the icy surface outside.
When we came upon the bear mascot at the winter festival, Mom grabbed his paws and “waltzed” with him to music coming from a nearby tent. As I filmed her leaving his embrace, she encouraged a pair of little girls to take her place in his arms; they were about the same age my cousins were when she told them about duck Ice Capades. The sheer delight Mom took in dancing and sharing her joy with the children made my heart burst with tenderness and love.
Here are ten lessons I took away that day:
- creating space for mom to engage with life was one of the best things I could do for both of us
- magic is accessible to everyone, and it’s usually free
- hugs and innocence are “ageless” and timeless
- small things make a big difference
- small things make an EVEN bigger difference when things seems hopeless
- dancing bears provide better medicine than many doctors
- we are meant to be in community; we belong together
- Alzheimer’s is as much a “life sentence” to love and laugh and live right now as it is a death sentence to die some day in the future. Life itself is a death sentence. Why die before we’re dead?
- using technology to preserve memories is a smart thing to do
- joy is a gift as well as a choice and a reward
Watch the video and see if you agree: