A couple of weeks ago, I dropped into Meems' new assisted living facility to see how she was doing. I was happy to find her in the dining area of her little unit seated at a table with other women. They were busy as bees with paint brushes swooshing away. I hugged Meems and she beamed up at me, "We're making something!" The aide chimed in, "They're making wreaths for Easter."
Meems had painted 3 or 4 coffee filters a Robin's egg blue. The other ladies were painstakingly painting every square inch of their coffee filters with Springtime colors. My little mother's filters had a few broad strokes in the very middle leaving a lot of white space exposed. I sat down, picked up a brush and got busy helping her fill them all in. My mom, the art teacher. The art teacher that encouraged her students to fill up every square inch of large pieces of manilla paper with their pictures. I chided her for "doggin'" it. She just shot me a big smile. "I know," she murmured.
After we thoroughly covered a few coffee filters, Mom pushed back from the table and said, "I'm done." So, we were done.
Last week when I stopped by for a visit, Meems made a special point to take me down to her room to show me something. "I made this!" she grinned. "You did!?" I asked feigning utter amazement. "Yes, I did!" she confirmed. "I helped you paint a few of those coffee filters, remember?" said I. "You did?!" said she. Her grin grew bigger.
"So, did you guys put the coffee filters onto the wreath the day after you painted them?" I queried. Without missing a beat, she said, "I don't remember that. I just remember that I made the wreath!" Then, she proceeded to show me all of the details that had been added. Pointing to the candies and little plastic eggs she said, "Isn't all that cute! I don't know what it all is, but it sure is cute!"
I was reminded of my childhood and the many mudpies I pressed up in the back flower beds that Mom pretended to taste. "Oh, it's just delicious! Will you please share the recipe with me?!" My heart panged with the reminder that our roles had reversed.
"Mom, that is such a precious wreath! It's way cuter than the one I have on MY door at home! I can't believe you made that!!" I wanted to hug the necks of the aides who had the patience to sit with the ladies painting all those coffee filters. Anyone who is kind and loving to my mother during my absense is my friend for life. Period. The end.
As I was leaving, I spied this box of hats and sunglasses in the living room. If you look closely, you'll see a Happy Birthday banner in the box along with a pair of binoculars. When the aides take the ladies outside for fresh air, they give each lady a cute sun hat and a pair of sunglasses. Does my heart good. Apparently, a birthday was celebrated out on the porch that day.
A new guy moved in a few weeks ago. I know this because Meems has told me 342 times. "A man named Ivan moved in! He's really nice, BUT, he's married." BUT, he's married. Oh, boy.
Meems says that she's "almost used to" the new assisted living facility. She quickly adds, "They take really good care of me here!" We are so blessed that this new place is picking up Meem's BFF Leonard, on Mondays and Fridays so that he can come have lunch with her. Crafts, birthdays on the porch, sun hats bedecked in flowers and Leonard. Doesn't get much better than that.
Does my heart good.