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January 20, 2014

I have learned over the past several years that I must remain flexible whenever visiting my mom.  I could never plan what we would do or talk about, I never knew what kind of a mood that I would find her in.  I learned early on to be flexible and just go with the flow.  If she was talkative and happy, that was a blessing.  If she was upset or angry, I tried to redirect, (not always successful) but I tried!  If she was asleep and did not want to wake up, well; it was just best for both of us to let her sleep. Recent weeks have found mom mostly in a pleasant mood and responsive to my visits, communicative, but not always understandable.

Today, when I took her for our morning walk around the halls, we once again ended up at what is becoming our favorite place to hang out.  OK, to be perfectly honest, it is my favorite place and I am assuming she likes it too.  It is bright and sunny, and I always place her by the window so she can look out while we talk.  However, this was the first time that I really studied the book titles on the shelves.  I was immediately drawn to the collection of hardback  Readers Digest Condensed books.  This series of books had been my earliest introduction to best – selling novels.  I remember as a young girl, that it was a big deal when that annual book arrived in the mail, although I do not ever remember seeing either  mom or dad reading them.  I eventually added to the collection with my own yard sale purchases, which I still find hard to resist! So here I am today, looking at this collection and reminiscing about a long ago connection to what I see today.  The first book I pull off the shelf has a title of, “Step–Ball–Change” by Jeanne Ray. I have never taken dance, but I do know that it means to smoothly transition your weight from one foot to another.

I sit down next to mom and start talking about when she used to get these books and how much I enjoyed them.  I said, “Let’s see what this story is about, I like the title of it.”  She mumbles something that I do not understand.  I start reading out loud, and she becomes obviously engaged with what I am saying, she is responding to the changes in my voice.  Though I do not understand what she is telling me, I think she is enjoying it.  I skip over a few pages trying to hurry the story along, to keep her interested.  I realize there is a wedding being planned, I try to focus on that aspect since she used to sew wedding gowns.  I truly animate the antics of the dog so she will laugh. When I read the various dance sections, she becomes even more interested, chattering with feelings, moving her hands and pointing her finger at me.  I realize she is telling me a story.  Could it be about going to dances when she was younger?  It dawns on me that “Step–Ball–Change” is another phrase for flexible!  I never thought about reading an adult novel to her.  I have been reading children’s story books with brightly colored pictures, which she always seemed to enjoy.  Now, I have just realized that I can get in some real reading while entertaining  and spending quality time with mom as well.

Then, I start receiving text messages from two of my daughters regarding a family issue that needs to be discussed.  So it goes back and forth between reading a few pages to mom, to reading and answering text messages, and back to the book again.

“Step-Ball-Change”    “Daughter-Mother-Daughter”

All translate to flexible!!

  1. Once again, something I need to hear this minute. Thank you!

    • I am often amazed at the way our stars align at just the right moment. You know your words have helped me on more than one occasion. Love you dear friend!

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