This was a special day.
I picked up my 93-year-old mother at the Memory Care facility where she lives. Mother has always enjoyed dressing up for special occasions and today was no different.
She was wearing a beautiful red blouse. Matching red lipstick emphasized her smile, and her coiffed silver hair shimmered in the sunlight as we walked through the courtyard. Mom’s smile telegraphed she knew me and remembered we were going out for lunch.
We arrived at the restaurant and while being seated, friends took time from their own lunch to introduce themselves to Mother. She felt special. I knew because she stood up straighter and looked them in the eye.
Mother ordered meatloaf and whipped potatoes. For dessert, we shared a molten dark chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream. Her conversation focused on our meal and how much she was enjoying her lunch.
I was mesmerized by her ability to rise to the occasion and act like her old self, an elegant and proud woman. Mother always said, “The least we can do is look right and act right.” Today, she demonstrated she could still do that.
When my father died at the age of thirty-six, mother moved us to Alpine, Texas to finish college and become a teacher. She was a 34-year-old widow with three children between the ages of nine months and 14 years. She worked very hard to give us a loving and secure upbringing despite the sudden absence of our dear father. Only as I grew older and moved out on my own did I begin to appreciate how challenging it must have been for my mother.
Life has a way of working things out and now I have the privilege of sharing the responsibility as Mother’s care giver with my sister.
As we walked from the car to Mother’s apartment, she squeezed my hand and said, “Thank you, Tyra. I feel special.”
Today was a day for gratitude. Mother gave me a special gift. She joined me for lunch, and she was wholly present. I wondered how much effort that must have taken.