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I have always dreamed of a perfect family . . . one
with a mom, a dad, two or three children, an a dog
or cat . . . or maybe both. A happy family with a
home with a white picket fence and the sound of
children laughing, the smell of bread baking
and the scent of fresh cut grass.

My memories are quite different when I think
of my home life as a little girl. I did have a mom,
a dad, a sister, but no dog or cat . . . only strays
that somehow always disappeared. I do remember
the smell of fresh cut grass, but I was the one mowing
the grass . . . . at an age that is unimaginable in today's
world. I grew up in a different age and time, we worked
from morning til night with all the chores that my parents
could find for us to do. I remember breaking bushels full
of green beans, (I always told my mom I liked the store
bought ones best) peeling peaches, apples and tomatoes
to can. We had a two acre garden that we had to "work"
so that we could eat in the winter. I truly think there is
still some food somewhere that we canned . . . we could
never have ever eaten all of the food we "put up".


We were made to scrub floors, toilets, walls, and anything
else that needed cleaning. My sister and I were my
mother's dishwasher . . . when people would ask if
she had a dishwasher, she would respond "I've got
two . . . Jan and Lisa". I also cooked a big portion of
the families meals, complete with salad and dessert.

I remember begging to go and live at the Children's
Home. We would pass by and all the children were
playing out in the yard and it looked pretty good to me
as a child . . . no work . . . just play. Somehow she
never did drop me off, no matter how much I begged.
I also considered running away from time to time,
but couldn't think of anywhere to go. So I stayed.

I married very young to escape my home life . . . there
had to be a better life for me out there. I didn't even
think about loving the person I was committing my life
to . . . but saw this as an opportunity to escape this
home I felt trapped in. As I left the home for the last
time . . . on my wedding day . . . I remember my
mother, still in her nightgown, waving goodbye and
good luck! Oh my . . . to think of this behavior now
is appalling.

So over the past 30 years I have isolated myself from
this past that I have tried to block from my mind, with
occasional visits to my mother over the years, becoming
more infrequent as the years have gone by. Every time
that I am around her now, the memories of the past are
resurrected and I am so thankful that God has given
me such a better life. I have always desired to have
that perfect white picket fence life for my family.

The past couple of years, my sister and I have noticed
the phone conversations with my mother become very
repetitive and sometimes not making sense at all.
This has progressively gotten worse and we made the
decision to go to see her and evaluate her condition.

We surprised her for her 81st birthday on April 9.
She was worse than we had anticipated. Her income
taxes were not filed, she had no homeowners insurance,
no idea of how much money she had,and didn't remember
much of anything about the past at all. We were convinced
she had to have some help. One of us, my sister or I, had
to bring her back with us to live. Well, to make a long story
short . . . she chose me and Memphis. In two days, we
listed her home with the real estate, changed her address
with the post office, signed over the Power of Attorney,
went to two different banks to change all necessary
information, cleaned out her refrigerator and all the
closets (with all the clothes she has ever owned)
hired a lawn man to take care of her yard, packed
her clothes, and brought her home to live with me.

So, my mother, Nell, is now living with me. We have
toured retirement and assisted living places, taken
her to two doctor visits, and tried to adjust her to
living with us.

I have noticed a complete role reversal. I am now
helping her dress, fix her hair, make the bed,
reminding her to eat and take her medicine,
explaining things over and over to her. It is
like having a child all over again. I feel guilty
leaving her alone, tip toe around the house so
she won't be woken up, fix her plate and encourage
her to eat all her food. We even gave her a "Clean
Plate Award" one night after she ate all her dinner.

This has been one of the hardest things I have ever
had to do in my life. I have my mother living with me
who really doesn't remember much of anything at all.
Maybe, just maybe I can have the perfect family I
always wanted after all. . . we both just will not
remember all the bad.

Happy Decorating,

Lisa


Posted by Meagan Walley at 6:11 PM