Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Today is my parents' 34th wedding anniversary. I just called my Dad to tell him Happy Anniversary, and I felt myself getting tongue tied and choked up leaving a voice mail.

It's probably best not to say anything to Mom. I don't want her to feel bad for forgetting. She was always card-maker-extraordinaire, thoughtful-gift-giver, and made every special event in our family meaningful with her attention and special words of appreciation.

What is a daughter supposed to say in a situation like this? "Thanks Dad, for holding up your end of the bargain, even when you've lost your best friend, partner, lover, and confidant." My heart breaks to even think of it.

It's an important day to celebrate, but painful in it's own way.

The message I want to give my parents most is this: I know what unconditional love looks like, sounds like, feels like because of you both.

A Realization

Things that Mom taught me have become sacred.

My hands remind me of hers: folding laundry, cutting vegetables, watering my garden, hemming a pair of pants with needle and thread. I even see her handwriting in my own.

I feel sad when the memories trickle in, but also very very grateful. I honor her by doing the things that she taught me to do. She was my earliest role model and my first teacher.

Alzheimer's has stolen so much from us, but it hasn't swallowed her completely. I still have the opportunity to express love to her.

This weekend we shared blackberries as I picked them in my parents' backyard.  I brushed her hair.We went on a picnic and I helped her dip her Dairy Queen chicken strips in ketchup. I held out my arm to steady her in and out of the car. I buckled her seat belt.

Even though these mundane things can push me to the brink of frustration and I feel short tempered, I wouldn't trade those little exchanges for anything.

I love you, Mom.