Sometimes we have days that make us stop and realize that we need to enjoy the simple things in life, to let go of petty things - the grudges we have, the bills that need to be paid, the person that cut in front of you at Starbucks. Days like the one I had today remind me of some of the blessings that surround me that I too often take for granted.
Today I was taking my mom to get a haircut and to lunch. I never know how that might go, but today she was in a good mood when I picked her up. She was excited that I was taking her out. I was feeling it. It was bound to be a great day with her.
While driving to the salon, I realized just how important it is to get her out of the facility. Things that we do every day of our lives become a special outing for my mom.
I was right. It was a good day. As we drove to get her hair cut, I let her talk about whatever she wanted. Rambling away about babies, and googly wooglies, and people and things I knew nothing of. She asked me questions, and I answered as best I knew how. One time she asked, “How are your brother and sister?” Well, I have a sister, but not a brother. At first I tried to figure out whom she was talking about. When she asked me the same question again, I just answered, "they are great! Keeping themselves busy!”
I never figured out whom she was talking about, but it didn’t really matter. I gave her the answer she needed to hear, the conversation that she needed. I think she just wanted to connect with me and talk and although most of what she said were bits and parts of thoughts and words, which together made little sense, I made sure I answered her in some respect. I wanted her to feel as if she was able to have a “real” conversation, that I was truly interested in her and what she was saying.
We had music on in the car. It wasn’t someone that she had ever heard, but she enjoyed the music anyway. She hummed along to the tunes. She really loved two of the songs and we played them over and over. They were 3,000 Miles and One Day, sung by Emblem3. I always try to play her something that she might recognize, but today made me realize that that no longer mattered. If she liked it, she liked it, whether it was jazz singer Chris Connor or a new band on the scene, Emblem3. We sang along together, just enjoying our time. She connected with the music and through the music we made a connection.
At one point she had a true moment of clarity. This hasn’t happened in a long time. When we were about to get some lunch, she said to me, “I am so glad that you can come and spend some time with me. It is good to get out. I am really having a wonderful time.” I had to swallow back the tears of joy. I responded by telling her that I was having a wonderful time and loved spending time with her. But alas, our moment was gone. She suddenly said, “What are we doing now? Where are we?” I simply explained that we were getting lunch and she was happy about that.
After having lunch and her telling me how good the chicken was, “probably the best she had ever had,” we headed home. Again she was humming along to the same music while eating a warm chocolate chip cookie. Her hands were smeared with the melted chips and she licked her fingers like we used to do as kids. Pure joy is what I saw in her. The kind of joy that only comes when you are truly in the moment and not caring what anybody thinks. Then she was pointing out the trees and the flowers that she was seeing. Again making me truly see those things that we take for granted, that we pass by every day, but rarely take the time to absorb their greatness, their simple beauty.
As we got out of the car to walk across the parking lot, she stopped, looked up and closed her eyes, letting the sunshine warm her face. She told me that it felt good to be in the sun. And she is right, it does. How easily we forget.
Take a lesson from my mom- stop and let the sunshine warm your face, breath in the fresh air, truly enjoy that cookie, find the wonderment in the simple beauty of nature, and sing along to the music and act like you know the words, even if you don’t. Enjoy the moment.