When we first discussed my parents moving in with us, I had an image of what that would look like for all of us. The boys would grow up with their grandparents at their sporting events, concerts, birthdays and that ordinary Wednesday. We would be one big, happy extended family with an occasional burp.
Needless to say one burp turned into full blown acid reflux. Even with GERD people can live a very happy life. It occurred to me today as I passed a picture, that there is one activity that is repeated over and over – Dress Up Granny! Granny is not the name of the dog – it is my mom!
My boys have each developed a unique relationship with their grandparents. It might have been John, our middle son that initiated this activity. They started by putting a flat bill hat on her and tell her to stand with her arms crossed years back. One of the other boys would take pictures. It would become a photo shoot. Granny is an amazing sport! Go Granny Go!
Over the years, the boys have engaged in this activity regardless of setting. This summer we were at my mother in law’s for a quick weekend stop over. John pulls Grandma’s ear muffs off the stationery bike and puts them on Granny. (We will not discuss why the ear muffs were out in July.) Then he steps back and evaluates the look. It was decided he needed to add a little something more – sunglasses. I know what you are thinking, “Thank goodness he added the glasses!”
Life isn’t always what you expect. Embrace the time and each moment you have with those you love. Not everyone’s grandma or grandpa would be willing to be this silly or allow their grandchildren to dress them up. But there is something that can be a shared experience, memorable for both people and bring smiles for years to come.
In order to recapture these moments, I display photos throughout the house. In our long bedroom hallway, it is a gallery of frames from one end to the other. I attempt to regularly add to and update pictures. Last year after my mom questioned several photos, I purchased a Sharpie and wrote on each glass frame – who, when and where. My mom walks through this hallway several time a day. I have caught her stopped and reading the pictures. She doesn’t always remember even with the hints, but she smiles at the images before her! So, so glad I did it!
In addition to the hallway, we have a computer monitor in the front hall. The main purpose of the monitor is to display the calendar (more on that later) on the right side of the screen. The left side of screen slowly scrolls through pictures. My mom also has a laptop and as her screen saver we have photos there. We have picture books that have been created from trip pictures and old fashion photo albums. All these help her recall other times and events. If it isn’t a day for recall, it is a conversation starter. Be ready – some memories bring tears.
Not everyone has access to all of these options to display pictures. Any way to share an image – take it! You won’t be sorry. These are the moments that keep us all going! Grab on! Hold on! Take a Pepcid!! The reflux will stop and you will be left with family. I feel comfortable saying your loved ones need these moments as much as you do.
What are the moments for your family? Sharing a puzzle? Ice cream on Friday night? Gardening together? Do you display pictures, formal or candid shots from your phone? Do your children dress up thier grandparents???
Today just grab (gently) the person you are caring for and tell them you love them. That is why we do this! Through all, the hard, harder and hardest- which I haven’t hit yet – we care for our parents out of love. This is the love they instilled in us.
Thank you for coming back again!