Car Wash

We have some rituals that have just sort of happened over the past few years. Things like milkshakes, car rides, putting gas in the car, going to the store, and washing the car. Most started because I’d bring mom along while I ran my errands. They were usually the same errands, like going to the car wash, so over time, an errand became a ritual.

Now the rituals are really important because they are easy and familiar for mom. When I say we are going to get the car washed, she knows where we are going and what that entails. And I know how long it takes so I can purposefully put together an agenda of our errands and know how long our outings will be.

But the other thing our rituals do is allow me to watch and chart where there is decline because I see mom in the same situation over and over, month after month.

The car wash is a great example. Early in the illness, we’d go to the car wash and I could never get mom to stay in the car. I’d have to constantly keep an eye on her because she’d open the door and try to come out with me. Once I remember she opened the door just when I was spraying soap on the passenger side and it went all over her and all over the car. She had soap in her hair and running down her face and she just sat there with the door open spitting soap.

Over time she stopped wanting to get out of the car, and was content to stay in and rock back and forth singing to the radio. And when I’d walk around her side of the car, she’d knock on the window and smile and wave to me.

Now she mostly sits in the car and listens to the radio. She waves and smiles, but mostly after I wave first.

And usually I can still get her to get out and help me sweep the car. Last week when we were sweeping the car I was kneeling on the passenger seat vacuuming the floor and I felt something pulling on my clothes. I guess my underwear was sticking put because mom was pulling up my jeans and pulling my tshirt down. When I looked over my shoulder at her she said, “I’m fixing your clothes.”

Still finding ways to help!

Happy Mother’s Day

In honor of mother’s day, some of my mom’s best quotes:
1. “Wear a coat. It’s not cool to be cold.”
2. “You don’t have to like it to eat it.” 
3. “Never buy generic ice cream or toilet paper.”
4. “Say please and remember to say thank you.”
5. “We are cleaning the house because I don’t want to come home from vacation to a dirty house.”
6. “Anything worth doing is worth doing right.”
7. “Did you think I didn’t know? I’m your mother. I’ve always known.”
8. “I am one of the smartest people you will ever meet.”
9. “If you spent as much time doing the work as you spend trying to get out of the work, you’d be done by now.”
10. “Nobody loves you like your mother loves you.”

Country Roads

I don’t remember a time when I didn’t know the words to “Country Roads.” Being from West Virginia, it is a bit of a requirement, and a source of pride. I’m pretty sure if I’ve always known the song, I must have learned it from my parents (though I guess we could have all learned it by indoctrination in elementary school music class, which is where I know I learned to sing “The West Virginia Hills” and “American the Beautiful.”)

Anyhow, I can’t really think of a song about a state that so many people know who aren’t from that state. How many people reading this right now could get through a fair amount of the song if it came on the radio? And how many aren’t from West Virginia? See!

I remember being in Samoa as a Peace Corps Volunteer and saying where I was from in America and people saying, “Oh, country roads,” or just bursting into song. I remember my brother and I were backpacking through Ireland and we were in this crazy dance club on the way, way outskirts of Galway. A Euro-techno version of the song came on and the empty dance floor was flooded like it was an Irish rally call. And something similar has happened to me in Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, and on and on and on.

All this is to say, I was sooooo excited to find that the jukebox at my mom’s home has “Country Roads” on it, and even more excited I was able to get a video of her singing it.