Have you ever gone over to visit someone and been greeted by their small child, who is so excited to see you and has been long anticipating your arrival? They want to show you all their new toys and tell you everything that has happened to them in their lifetime. Kinda cute at first...then maybe after a while, after you've seen and heard about every stuffed animal and every detail of their day, you're ready to move on with your visit.
I've said it before. People with dementia become very childlike; my mom being no exception. She becomes giddy like a child when she's excited and has an innocence about her when she speaks, like a child who doesn't know any better.
Lately, she has been extremely chatty. She talks a mile a minute. If I'm being brutally honest, it's enough to drive you a little nutty (bless her heart). In the moments when my ears feel like they are going to burst from over-stimulation, I remind myself what a good thing it is that she is still talking. There will come a day when she will not be able to find words any longer. So for today, I count my blessings.
Tonight I took some crickets over to feed my dad's newts; I was out and about today and picked some up for own newts, so I figured I may as well save him a trip. My mom answered the door and before I could even get all the way in the door, she was telling me all about her exhilirating trip to Sam's Club.
"Oh you know what's so good too is that I went to Sam's Club today too and got a lot of food stuff too. Claudia came and we went to Sam's Club so I got a lot of food and the food things the children like too..."
She led me staightway into the kitchen to show me her loot.
"I got a lot of really good things too, and I got those things your son loves, Cody loves, so much too and these other things too that all the grandchildren love too, " she said, as she pointed to the fruity snacks and goldfish crackers.
Without taking much of a breath, she walked over to the counter, where she had a bag of dinner rolls set out.
"And I got those really good bread things too and other bread stuff too. Oh, and I got the chicken nugget things that I love so much cuz they're so good."
She walked briskly over to the freezer and opened the door to show me it's contents. With excitement in her voice, she continued,
"See, these chicken nuggets, these kind, they're so good too. I like them so much," she said, pointing to the dinosaur chicken nuggets in the freezer. Next, she opened the refrigerator,
"I got those tomato kinds too which are really good and really healthy too and other things too. And I got lots of my Ensure too, a big box of it for really cheap, a really good price," she said, nodding her head as she moved back towards the counter.
"It's really a lot and that's good because I'm going to give some to Jeremy too for his birthday because he really loves it so much, but I'll go get more cuz his birthday is at the end of the month and then it's really fresh and new but I'm not gonna give him a big box, no. I'm just gonna give him some, like 6 of them cuz that'll be enough for him, he really likes them so much."
On a side note: Jeremy is my nephew; he's turning 9 this month and my mom approached me a couple of months ago with a brilliant idea for his birthday present: Ensure, because "he really likes it so much and he's always asking me 'grandma can I have one?' and his mom won't ever buy him any."
After she showed me all of her goods, she stood in the middle of the kitchen. Her arms were straight down in front of her, crossed straight over each other with her hands twisted around and held together, fingers overlocking. She swayed a little, side to side, as she proudly told me,
"I did really good too because I got all this really lot of food for only one-hundred-and-nineteen-dollars, about. And your dad didn't want me spending more than $150 so I did only one-hundred-nineteen so that wasn't as much, so that was good. And I got 14 things or maybe more for only that price so I did really good too. Yeah."
She smiled and I told her she did good and that I was happy she got to go to Sam's Club. After I fed the newts, and talked with my mom for a couple more minutes (about Sam's Club, of course), she grabbed a packet of fruity snacks and handed them to me.
"I wanted to give this gift to Cody too, even though he's probably asleep but I want to give him a gift of this because he likes it so much and he'll be so happy."
I know this may sound silly, but as I stood there, looking at the true joy in my mom's face at sending home those fruity snacks for my son, I felt a little warmth in my heart. I could see that she felt pride and happiness that she was able to give him something that she knows he really enjoys. Cody will be thrilled to wake up tomorrow to find his gift from grandma; just as thrilled as grandma was to give him the gift.
It is hard to see someone you love revert back to a childlike state. Sometimes it leaves me with sadness. Yet sometimes, if I look hard enough, I find something to smile about. I can smile that my mom is innocent and that simple things (like shopping at Sam's Club and giving my son his favorite snacks) make her happy. When I look back on what this devastating disease has done to my beloved mother, these are the moments and the memories that I will choose to remember.