Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. –Matthew 5:15-6
Happy Monday, Friends! And NO…I’m not going to let you get by with saying Happy and Monday are mutually exclusive and cannot exist as friends, for they can and do. 🙂 Don’t let the grumpy old world superimpose its Monday Blahs on you. That is a social construct, if anything is…
Well, this week and month stands as a mighty tree in the forest of parenting at the Applegate house. My middle child, my youngest daughter, graduates from Southwest Baptist University with her art degree…and in a few short months, is moving to an apartment in a neighboring town to go full-on adult on us, as if she wasn’t already. 🙂 My oldest daughter, holder of a music/education degree from the same university, finishes her employment with one school and changes to a K-12 music job at another one while her husband joins that school as a history teacher. Shortly later, my youngest…my son…starts his first job. (I will leave in brackets here another proud moment in my life coming up in July when me and my all-everything bride celebrate our 1 billionth second being married!!!)
These are the days that stick with us through thick and thin, like a good pet or sometimes a jagged scar.
Will these memories abide? Will they stick? Forever? I say yes, in one way or another, and not even dementia holds power over them. In my family, in what ways do memories survive the Shock and Awe of dementia? Consider the A.C.O.R.N….
A is for Art– Mom cannot remember much, if anything, as far as we can tell with absolute certainty, at this end-stage unspoken life-unfilibuster, But one thing I can tell and have been able to all along, is mom still loves the arts. She loves music. We listen to Alan Jackson or the Gaithers sing the old Gospel songs because she seems to hear their range well. She un-tenses, somewhat, from her Parkinsonism (stiffening of arms and legs not always part of the disease that shares its name). She tries harder to talk when these songs are over, and I hear and understand her perfectly, if not in word form. She loves drawing, painting, chalks, and crafts of all sorts. She has a creative eye and can turn a piece of driftwood into a camel faster than I can type this paragraph. Her love for these things defeated dementia through the Trojan Horse of kids, grandkids and great grandkids nd so on. In the case of my wing of Applegatedom, my oldest daughter’s music (teaching it and playing clarinet in various symphonies) and her art have at least some origin from what grandma brought to her both genetically and by sharing these gifts through a life of loving on her and sharing artistic moment. While my middle child hasn’t always loved music/musical instruments (despite the fact that she was a solid flute player), her shared loved of art can also partially be attributed to grandma’s love. And my son also played a clarinet for many years and was a natural at it. He exemplifies grandma best, perhaps, in his love of singing and singers and in hs love and appreciation of colors. He reminds me much of grandma. Dementia shook the tree, and these acorns fell out.
C is for Christlikeness– Kind of a stinker that the C in ACORN falls so early in the mix here, but I need to bring it up. My kids had a Christian upbringing. We went to church and tried to live our church lives as best we could within our imperfection. Some days we, as parents, did pretty well (and still needed grace), and others we were extended grace upon grace abounding and with a sprinkle of more grace on top. But all along, we knew we could look to Godly parents and step-parents as examples of imperfect but grace-given examples. My parents weren’t perfect…still aren’t….but they are and were doing the best they could. Her fruit was and is still present: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I see these in my kids in increasing amounts and, regardless where they may sway, I expect that the tree will hold as it has for mom.
O is for Originality– You could argue that originality overlaps with the A of my little acorn here, but I would say only somewhat so. My mom is an original. She was an improvisor. If she had a spirit professional boxer (is that a thing???), she most certainly would appreciate Ali. Here is a quick video of mom metaphorically raising us:
We wouldn’t have dared throwing a punch at mom, mind you, so the analogy dwindles here a bit. Had we tried to throw a punch at her, retaliation would have looked more like this from mom and dad:
The problem wasn’t violence-related…that wasn’t necessary. The problem was just HOW to raise us rambunctious kids…and mom was an original…and did a great job. There were so few babysitters in that time. Not a people willing to babysit shortage, but few things you could throw in a room to busy the kids. Nowadays every kid has a phone, an iPad, and a dozen video games. We had clay. We had a bike. We had army men and dinosaurs. And we made the most of these things because mom (and dad) taught us to be originals. We undoubtedly didn’t invent it as such, but we put a softball in a long tube sock and use to throw it in the air to each other, the other person having to catch it on the sock (while dodging our face getting smacked). We called this “Schmurltz”. We soon tied another softball to the other end that you threw overhanded called the “Bruiser”, for obvious reasons. Mom was original in feeding us, in clothing us, and in parenting…and my family and I expect my kids’ families will follow. Dementia, the acorn is out of the bag now! (Mixed metaphor aside…). OK…Acorn, you stuck close to the ole tree here too despite dementia’s anti-close-to-the-tree-intent. OK…the metaphor isn’t greet but you get the point here…,
R is for Really, Really good times– Dementia, as much as it sucks, can’t take away my great childhood. I was blessed with great parents and great stepparents. Super blessed. 🙂 The memories of going to the creek, playing in the yard, going to garage sales, playing ball (various types), having a good BBQ, hearing mom and dad laughing at Johnny Carson while I was supposed to be asleep, and always knowing I was loved in good times and in bad. Dementia…you ain’t got nuthin’ that can take that away!
N is for Numbers– That’s a weird one to end on, blog boy! I agree. The C would have been better to end on, but who every heard the saying that the AORNC didn’t fall far from the tree, except in the dyslexia Facebook Group, of which I have always shown typing/writing similarities with. Numbers, in this case, I want to point to more as data. My genetics is going to contribute to finding a cure for this stinkin’ disease if I have to give Cerebrospinal Fluid, scans, muscle biopsies, and 1,000 hours of cognitive tests to all 33 Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centers (ADRCs). I will NOT let mom die in vain. I will not get the disease myself and I sure the heck won’t let my kids and family, whom mom loves soooo much, get the disease without a fight. That is why I Run Til I’m Purple (BTW—5 weeks from today I run. Sigh….). That is why I sandwich board requesting money here and there. That is why I write this blog too, in many ways. That is why I help with AIM as best I can. I can’t let dementia win. It may beat mom someday…probably sooner than later…but it is powerless to erase her legacy and her data’s legacy for that matter… Powerless. Oh…and as a bonus…a great bonus indeed… once the disease does indeed beat mom, the real fun begins. The devil, of whom this disease brings great pleasure, will shake his head in disappointment yet again when mom enters heaven a restored and glorified woman and, for all those already there, shows that Christ’s work on the cross rendered another work of the devil as defeated. What the devil meant to win, Christ said “Nope…this one’s mine.” Hey…maybe NOPE could have been the N here? So be it.
Update: No real updates. I sat with mom Friday for an entire Alan Jackson Gospel playlist and supper. She is about the same. She is a fighter and she is still the most kind person you will ever meet.
Runnin’ Til I’m Purple update: The fundraiser is getting close to $1000 now. I would LOVE to get to the intended goal of 2 miles worth of dollars, but every penny helps. I missed this weekend’s long runs. I did get in 20+ miles for the week, even with the spider bites. Today I got in a 10k on the Dreadmill and hope to every day this week before running 2 long ones this weekend. FIVE weeks from today, Lord Willin’, I will hit the train in Bolivar. Then 5 weeks from tomorrow morning I will hit it again in Springfield and lumber back. I got new shoes with my rewards app money that I will slowly break in. I got Saucony Guide 14 running shoes that I hope will provide feet and pronation support at a price I can afford. I simply can’t spend $150 on shoes right now. I want my extra funds to go toward the event. 🙂
My T-Shirt for the event will be out this week and the online order shop will be open. The price is a little higher because of the government overspending trillions of our great grandkids’ dollars. It will be a much more informative, less tied directly to running shirt this year, based on the feedback I got from last year. I put the warning signs on the back and a super cute front. I think you will dig it. 🙂 I did. 🙂 Coming very soon. 🙂
Last tidbit: Support group for caregivers is tomorrow night. 4:45-5:45PM on Zoom (Call/Text me 417-955-2513 or email me firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you the invite) and the in-person event follows from 6-7ish. These are in Central Standard Time. I wish I could squeeze in the time to do these every week, but I am to busy spinning plates, tilting windmills, and jumping sharks. 🙂
Thank you all and do have a Happy Monday Don’t let Monday win!