A Shower of Nerves

It’s Friday and it’s a Friday where I am heading home to my parents house to visit for the weekend. Mom and I have a baby shower to attend tomorrow for a childhood friend of mine. It will be a solo event for us. Sister K is not coming into town and Dad doesn’t attend too many baby showers…

But I am a little nervous and I am not sure why. It is always strange to go to things like showers with Mom and see people from the past. They know Mom has MS but it’s still hard. I was figuring out what to wear and was even taking into consideration wearing heels vs flats since I would be pushing a wheelchair. I am going to be solo responsible for Mom and I am a little anxious about it.  Just the dynamics. Getting her into the restaurant, where we will sit, will people stare at us, how will this work, etc. Mobility is not as easy as it used to be for her making these things a little more complicated for us. I am sure it will all be fine, just like it always is; there will even be minor hiccups in the process but they will be fine too.

Today though, I can’t predict what will happen or how this will play out. This is a part of Mom’s MS I struggle with a lot. I struggle with my desire for the simplicity of how things used to be or how things are in comparison to other friends of mine attending showers with their Moms. I also get a little more nervous when I have to do these things on my own compared to doing them with Sister K and getting to “tag team” the situation.

So there it is. Here comes the weekend. I can see it on the horizon. Hope you have a great one! Thanks for sticking with me as I do my best to create my own manual for dealing with Mom’s MS.

Do you think I am thinking too much about the weekend ahead and need to try to just go with these things as they come? How do people react to you when your circumstances change from how they used to be? What do you have planned this weekend?

So Complicated

As we get older there are traditional roles we fill. Parents take care of children. Then children get older and take care of their parents. The tough part of this equation is when you are the parent trying to take care of your own parent but you need to be taken care of too. Insert Mom.

Mom’s caught in a tough spot right now and I know she feels it. We don’t ever talk about it but I know it’s there. Her father, Papa as I call him on this blog, is our only grandparent living. He is 87 years old and still lives at his house about 15 minutes from my parent’s house. He is in great health and still very active. He still drives but there are certain occasions when it is better if we drive him around- a doctor’s appointment for his eyes, a longer trip out of town, or a night time activity.

In a perfect world this wouldn’t be a big deal because Mom would still be active as well and would be able to drive and pick him up for these appointments. But the world we live in right now Mom doesn’t drive, and to be honest, requires more assistance to be taken places than Papa. That is tough too. It goes against what is “supposed to happen.” Against what the “plan of life” tells us will happen.

So tonight I sit here struggling. We all are struggling. Struggling because there are times when this is not easy. The arrangements to be made, the sacrifices we each make and the way it all plays out- the way life is unfolding for us is tough and it seems every time we turn around it seems to be getting tougher.

Have you ever cared for an elderly parent? Do you make sacrifices for loved ones or struggle trying to make everyone happy? Do you ever stop and think this is not how this was supposed to be?

The Changing Faces of Shopping

I know it’s a little early to begin talking about Christmas but I think it is acceptable to start talking about Christmas shopping. Specifically in my family, Christmas shopping has definitely evolved.

Mom has always loved Christmas and growing up I would hear her brag to her friends about how her Christmas shopping was done by July. I can envision her driving around in her minivan while we were at school buying things for people as she saw them and then hiding the gifts in the back of her closet. That vision seems like a long time ago. It makes me nostalgic but I find it important to remember those memories.

The point through is now instead of driving around, Mom opens her iPad and shops around all while sitting at the kitchen table. She tells us to email her “links” instead of the traditional handwritten Christmas list. And though the methods of obtaining the gifts may be different, she still feels useful and in charge of Christmas gifts just like she always was. This is important. It’s another way we fight to to continue living as we always have and another way thanks to modern technology Mom can still feel like Mom…especially at Christmas.

How do you holiday shop? Are there little responsibilities in your life like Christmas shopping that would be hard for you to have taken away? Do you prefer internet shopping? Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?

Welcome to the 60s

Alright I am back. Not that I every left, but over the past month I’ve had a lot going on that had nothing to do with Mom’s MS. In a way Mom having MS took a backseat to everything else going on in my life. Maybe that is good from time to time. Maybe it is necessary to help me to keep things in perspective and continue to live my life. But things are resolved, I am feeling back to normal (after you read this post you may change your opinion of that comment..ha), and I am ready to share my words regularly once again.

Oct. 25 was Mom’s 60th Birthday. I posted about our plans for her birthday here. What I didn’t post about was the performance that Sister K and I conducted for her when we got home after her family birthday dinner. We ran upstairs in our house and raided our childhood bedrooms trying to find and piece together old dance recital costumes that may somewhat fit in one way or another. We were going for poodle skirts. We only found one poodle skirt and sequin jacket. Sister K took that outfit. Just as we felt we were about to fail at our mission we discovered the ultimate in past costumes:

My California Raisin Halloween costume circa 1992

Let’s just say it was amazing. Sister K and I put on the song “Welcome to the 60s” from the musical turned movie Hairspray and began just randomly dancing and serenading Mom in the kitchen. The dogs were barking at me the entire time. Mom and Grandpa sat at the kitchen table watching. Dad on a bar stool wondering where exactly he went wrong with raising us and Husband rolled his eyes continuously because nothing surprises him anymore.

But the point of all this- the costumes, the music, the dancing- this is how we survive. This is how we cope with MS. We remember to not take life seriously. We realize the importance of laughter. And we have no shame and will do whatever is necessary to bring a laugh and a smile to our family, especially Mom. We will do whatever we can to distract our family from the dark place we can easily find ourselves in because of MS.

Have you ever done something silly to get a laugh out of an otherwise tough situation? Do you think it’s important to not take life too seriously sometimes as a way to cope? Were you a fan of the California Raisins? Did you hear that I got an iPhone Friday night? Lots of tweets and more pictures to come now that I have officially entered the real world. Be on the lookout.