Like clockwork, I call my mom every night around 10:30 pm. Her mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s has affected her memory; however, her spidey mom senses are still super sharp. When we talk, she can tell if I am happy, sad, tired or worried. If her voice sounds congested, I know her allergies are bothering her. Sometimes, our conversations last five minutes; other times, we talk for a half-hour. At the end, she always says, “That’s a good report.”
This validating reply takes root from my mom’s tenure as an elementary school teacher. I transport myself to her place in time and feel as if I am standing in front of a classroom, giving a daily dissertation on my activities. It’s through these daily reports I realize my mom’s Alzheimer’s forces me to think about the present moment. What did I do today? Did I do something for myself? Did I help someone? Was I kind? Was I compassionate?
Since I am in New York and my family is in North Carolina, my oldest brother sends me pictures of mom during his visits. My brother’s photos and videos allow me to partake in her activities. I complimented my mom on her new hairdo and the pink jacket she wore earlier in the week. I heard her smile over the phone, filled with joy I knew what was happening.
These days, it feels as if the Mother’s Day holidays post the Alzheimer’s diagnosis are off-script; not following the lines and scenes from greeting cards and magazines. This dreaded disease may be taking away my mom’s memory but it cannot take away the love between us. I am thankful for the tiny moments I share with my mom each day. I cherish the time to give a good report.