Sunday, February 24, 2013

How's Wes?!

A few weeks ago, I went up to Inman by myself, to spend a long weekend with my mom & dad.  At this point, I hadn't heard my mom say my name in several weeks.  Here it was, the middle of January & it was before Christmas since she had called me Jennifer.  Usually, she would refer to me as "mom" if Sadie or Hudson were in view or just wave her hand at me so I would know she was talking to me.  I was okay with this.  I knew she knew who I was, not necessarily her daughter, but she knew me.  Most of the time, she was still able to call my kids by their names.  Every now & then, I would hear kids, or girl if she was talking to Sadie over skype.

I drove up on a Friday afternoon, so I just met my parents at a restaurant for dinner that night before going to their house.  We order our food, sit down, & start to eat.  She had told me hello & asked how I was in the parking lot, but never said my name.  So, imagine my surprise, when she just looks at me & said, "How's Wes?"

Now, for those of you who don't know, Wes is my husband.  We are coming up on eight years of marriage in May.  Granted, we started dating when I was eighteen, & I'll be (yes, I'm going to say it) 33 on Tuesday (feel free to send me a gift, lol!).  So, Wes has been around a while.  But, I have been around for almost 33 years, not to mention the nine months & 10 days (because I was 10 days overdue!) that she carried me before giving birth to me.  See, in most Alzheimer's cases, the newest memories go first, & they usually remember the memories from childhood the longest.  In my mom's case, its not like that.  There have been gaps, big ones at that.  Why can she remember my kids' names but not mine?  Its crazy!  Then, she asks me, "How's Wes?" when he's not there, she hasn't seen him since Christmas, and neither myself or my dad has mentioned him!  I've always known they love Wes, but this takes it to a whole different level.  

Wes, of course, thinks its the best thing ever!  In his mind, my mom confirmed that he's her favorite!  I approach it as at least she knows Wes is part of my life, and she cares about him.  We have to take the reminders anyway we can now.  I know there will be a day, when she won't remember Wes' name, or my children's names, or who I am.  But for now, I'm cherishing every moment, even if that means that Wes is her favorite, lol!


Saturday, February 9, 2013

Big Tummy

I've had lots I can write about from the past couple of months, and I will soon, I promise.  But tonight's story is more about my sweet daughter, Sadie, & her thoughts on my mom, or Nana J to her.

Sadie will be 5 on Valentine's Day.  She has one of the biggest hearts I've ever known, especially from someone so young.  Back in the fall, I knew Sadie was beginning to pick up on my mom's Alzheimer's, mainly the repetitive questions, & lack of interest in playing with Sadie when she asked.  God gave me the words to explain Alzheimer's to Sadie & what that meant for us & Nana J.  I, of course, explained it as simply as possible, letting Sadie know that Alzheimer's is something some people develop when they get older & that it causes you to repeat yourself a lot & forget things really easy.

She understands that is a sickness, but not one that Nana J can go to the doctor for & get medicine to make her all better.  She remembers the word 'Alzheimer's', & can say it probably better than most adults.  She was very involved in the Walk to End Alzheimer's last September.

The past several months, Sadie has begun to get into chapter books.  I love to read, and she told me a while back that she wanted to read a big book like I do.  Last time I was up in Inman at my mom & dad's, I went to the basement to my old childhood playroom, and checked out my bookshelf.  There is was, my copy of Charlotte's Web, from when I was in elementary school.  I brought it home & we started reading it that evening.  We read just a chapter every night at bedtime, sometimes even just half of a chapter depending on the length.

Tonight as we finished up her chapter, she asked me what I did when I was a little girl.  We talked about how I liked to play games, play outside, do puzzles, & read.  She asked who read Charlotte's Web to me when I was little & couldn't read yet.  When I told her Nana J did, her reply was, "so she didn't have Alzheimer's then?"  Isn't it amazing the level of understanding children have?  Just one little question blew me away, and took me back to sweet memories of my mom & I during my childhood.  Of course, Sadie always asks more & I cherish these times when I get to tell her about her Nana J, the true Nana J, that she doesn't get to experience.

Just as I was beginning to get teary eyed, in true Sadie fashion, she then asked me, "Did Nana J have her big tummy when you were little too?"  I love that little girl!  We laughed, and then she told me how much she loves Nana J's big tummy.  She then went on to inform me, "that sometimes when you get old, that means you've been around a long time, your tummy can get really big like Nana J's."

I imagine telling my mom this story, & I can hear her say, "Gah" as she's laughing with her wonderful laugh.  I miss conversations with my mom so much.  I miss getting a phone call from her just because she wanted to call.  I miss getting a real hug from her, & not just a "copying everyone else because they're hugging"hug.  I miss hearing her tell me she loves me, and not just saying "love you too" after I tell her.

Now, I focus on the memories from throughout the years, & making new ones, just on a different level.  I also have to focus on the things that I can, like loving her big tummy!