Game Face

Friday and Saturday was spent moving Mom and getting her settled in at Prairie House. While we packed boxes and bags and helped load the car and pickups, while we helped Mom out of the car, and move her belongings into her new apartment, we kept a positive and upbeat attitude, feeling responsible to help Mom feel good about her move.

I don’t know who I thought I was fooling.

Mom was fine. The day she was told she needed to move was the last day she cried about it. She made up her mind to make the best of this change, to put her best foot forward and her game face on. I watched in awe as she interacted and hammed it up during her first supper, the Saint Patrick’s Day party. She happily let us tuck her in that night, and got herself up early enough the next morning to make it to breakfast in the dining room. She told us later about her table mates and which ones were nice and which were complainers.

Anita and Cheryl and I played cards with Mom yesterday afternoon in the TV room. We laughed and bantered and brought out the competitor in each other. During her second dinner, last night, Mom learned that one of her table mates is her next door neighbor. And she liked her, said she was so nice.

I called Mom a few minutes ago to see how she liked the church service she went to this afternoon, but Dad had just arrived, so she really didn’t have time to visit. But she sounded very happy and upbeat.

This move happened fast for Mom. For all of us. It was a hard decision, and shocking to some people who had not heard about Dad’s illness. Shocking to some who know Mom, but who only see her sometimes, and she’s been able to fool them with her positive mental attitude, and bluff her way through conversations, giving no hint of her decline. She really has turned out to be a great little actress!

If you are one of those who was caught off guard by this news, please rest assured. There is no need to pity. There has not been an ounce of self-pity on my Mother’s part. She made her decision to accept this turn of events and make the best of it. It’s what she has done her whole life. She makes the best of whatever comes her way.

The funny thing is, in her making the best of it for herself, she often becomes the best thing to happen to someone else. I have no doubt that this time for her at Prairie House will be no different. She will make friends and be a blessing to those around her.

After we dropped Cheryl off in Edmonds today, about the time we were approaching Mount Vernon, I said to Rick, ‘I feel down, kind of sad, and I don’t know why.’ and I started to cry. He almost laughed at me. He reminded me that we just ended one of the most emotionally charged weekends with *almost* no tears. We’d kept our game faces on for Mom, and now that we were away, it came crushing down on me.

Funny thing is, I probably could have let down in front of her. Maybe it would have allowed her to be the Mom again for just a moment and comfort me.

Because Mom’s doing just fine.


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