As many know, my mom has dementia and has been living in a nursing home for a little over a year. Last year at this time I was in such a bad place. My mom was having bouts of paranoia that sent her over the edge. She'd rip apart her room as well as other residents' rooms looking for my daughter, my niece, whoever she thought was missing and needed help. She was hospitalized several times. A year later, she is still very mixed up about life's details (that's not going to get any better and I've come to accept that) but the paranoia is gone. She thinks she's living in a hospital and that she'll be going home after she "gets better". The past month and a half or so have been very good - she's been in good spirits, able to hold a conversation, recognizes my children and myself; it's lifted some of a weight off of me. I was laughing at something at church a couple of weeks ago and my Pastor said that it had been a long time since he'd seen me smile.
The past month and a half have been so good in fact that I had a crazy idea and decided to go with it. I made reservations to take my mom and Jess to the Ritz Carlton in Boston to the Sugar Plum Tea. I invited my MIL to come along and I am so happy she did. In addition to Jess's love of spending time with her Grandma and my enjoying her company as well, her coming with us enabled me to let Jess participate in the activities without leaving my mom alone at the table. Given her not very tight hold on reality, I don't trust that my mom wouldn't forget why she was there and get up to leave the table if she were left alone. Jess decorated an ornament which was hung on a tree that will be donated to the Pine Street Inn (tricky moment explaining to Jess what a homeless shelter was), shook the bells while a man played the piano and sang Jingle Bells, played on a humongous stuffed bear, and took pictures with Clara, the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Nutcracker from the Boston Ballet. The food was wonderful and the service was outstanding. I am so happy that I took the chance and did this.
Jess with the nutcracker and the sugar plum fairy
The bear was a big hit with the kids.
Jess with Clara and the nutcracker.
Shaking the bells to Jingle Bells - one of Jess's favorite carols
Ruth, Jess and my mom