Friday, May 17, 2013

The Best Way to ENJOY Your Mom

I'm feeling so much gratitude today . . . and I'm really, really happy.

Thank you, everyone, for your support and encouragement over the past couple of days. 

When I posted "The Best Way to Lose a Mom" on Wednesday, I was in a very hard place.  I felt a bit nervous to share so many personal details in such a public way, but what I've discovered about this online world is that we're here to help each other.  The more we're willing to share what's hard for us, the more we realize that we're not alone, and the less "hard" our lives feel.

So thank you for your comments, your Facebook messages, emails, text messages, and phone calls.  You've helped me shift my perspective from "how to lose a mom" to "how to enjoy your mom." I can't even tell you how grateful I am to have you as my friends.

And now I want to give you a little report so you'll know how you've influenced my life.

Yesterday I took my children out to see my parents for a few hours.  Your words kept ringing in my ears--to savor my time with my mom, to listen to her stories, to hold her, to kiss her, to involve my children, and to realize how precious our time is together.

So I did just that.

We got there in time for her physical therapy appointment, and I made some videos of the exercises so I can help my mom get into a good routine. 



I then sat with my dad on the couch and asked him if he is doing okay.  He insists that everything is fine, and he is quite honestly doing a phenomenal job keeping the house clean, doing all the laundry, cooking the meals, and giving my mom all her medicines, etc.  It's a long list!  I can tell he's tired, but he is so devoted to her, and I think that's inspiring.



We took a walk down Second Street with our dear friend Shirley and had so much fun tasting foods from the various restaurants there.  (They do a "Stroll and Savor" two days a month during the summer, and it is fantastic.  If you get the chance, you must go.)

These boys are always running!

You buy $10 coupon books there, and then you can sample items from the restaurants for $1.50 - $3.  It's great.

 

At times, my mom would say things like, "Tell me the names of your children again." or "I think I left my car parked on the other side of the city."  But overall, she was happy as long as my dad was holding her hand.


The sweetest part of the visit was right before we left.  I brought out a new tub transfer bench to help make bath time easier.  My children settled down to watch a show on TV while I wheeled my mom into the bathroom, helped her undress, slid her feet into the tub, scrubbed her body with a soapy-warm washcloth, and shampooed her hair.

That was the second time I've bathed her, and I'm surprised at how much it feels like the hundreds of times I've given my own children baths. 

She was so appreciative through the entire process, saying things like, "Oh, thank you!  It feels so good to be clean.  My sweet April, you make my life so happy."

When my mom was a little girl and her daddy would get her out of the bathtub, he would say, "Under the wing!  Tickle, tickle, tickle!" when he dried under each of her arms. 

My mom always did the same to me.

And yesterday, I did that to her. 

While I was saying, "Tickle, tickle, tickle!" and helping my mom get dry and warm, I can't even tell you how privileged I felt to be doing such a simple, physical act of service for my mother.  It was just a little thing, and I know my family members who live closer do so much more, but as I stood there in the bathroom, dressing my mom in her nightgown, helping her brush her teeth, and rubbing sweet-smelling lotion on her arms and neck, I thought to myself, "There is nothing in the entire world I would rather be doing right now."

Part of my emotional turmoil lately has been trying to decide where to invest my time.  Power of Moms is growing amazingly well.  We had hundreds of thousands of visitors last month, we have two books being published right now, our volunteer board is growing, and there are so many opportunities to do media appearances, Retreats, collaborative projects, and tons of other details I won't even try to record.

I'm still moving steadily on these projects, but taking a day a week to be with my mom and dad and slowing my life down so that I have time to enjoy my husband and children feels right on every single level. 

As my children and I tucked Mom in bed last night, she said, "Now I'm going to make pancakes and waffles for you tomorrow morning for breakfast.  What time do you want to eat?"

Knowing we were heading home--already way too late, but wanting to play along, I replied, "Oh, about nine."

"All right, nine o'clock it is.  Maybe the children can pick some dandelions or flowers you can spare from your garden, and we can put them in a vase on the table.  I'll lay out a nice tablecloth, and we'll have so much fun together!"

We kissed her cheeks, told her that sounded fabulous, and then slowly crept out to the car so she wouldn't know we were gone.  She won't remember these plans in the morning, but we will make it happen as soon as possible.

This time with my family is "my deeper yes".

This is the life I know I'm supposed to live. 

Not a single day is easy, but I feel a sense of purpose and meaning that honestly makes life a joy.

Thank you for all of your help and support.  Love to all of you--especially as you're going through your own unique challenges.  Maybe you don't feel comfortable sharing yours as openly right now, but I hope you know that you absolutely are not alone.

-April















13 comments:

  1. April, you have a beautiful mother and you are an amazing daughter. And the things you are teaching your children during this time are priceless. Thank you for sharing this part of your life with us! I am so grateful to you and I admire you so much!

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    1. Thank you, Kalani. I so appreciate your support.

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  2. Your mother is so very blessed with a loving and caring family, April. The simple things you did with/for your mother are precious and eternal. And oh the memories you are creating for your children and your family. Hugs to you!

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  3. The time that you spend with your family is never replaceable. You are in the right place...doing the right thing, for now, and I'm sure that everyone else will understand why you choose to spend this time with your mom/family. The Power of Mom/Family are what it's all about. You have always set a good example to all.
    Much love to you.

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  4. Love you April! You are choosing the very best deeper yes!

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  5. This is so hard April! Thank you for sharing your heart...again!

    What a beautiful thing you are modeling for your children. The full circle of life. You now serve the mother that served you so selflessly for years. I hope that I can return that love through physical service someday too. There is something so powerful in the love that is offered in repetitive, mundane tasks, don't you think? I struggle to remember that often as I mother young children, but your example reminded me of that. And someday...if you too travel this path...your brutally honest words will comfort your own daughters as they mourn your loss and learn to love more!

    Much love xo

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    1. Thanks so much, JaNae. It IS a full circle, and each day I am learning to treasure the "mundane" even more. My husband was singing a song today (something like, "Soon you'll go." I think it was by Howard Jones). The songs are about how our children are going to grow up and leave, but he's also singing it because he doesn't know how long he'll have ME. Just hoping I can hang on to my memory for my whole life. Hope your day is great!

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  6. Wow, April. These two posts about losing and enjoying your mom are so moving- and inspiring! Thank you for sharing so openly about such a huge challenge. And thanks for the reminder that these days with our moms and our kids are so precious.

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    1. Thanks so much Candace. I appreciate your kind words. And I read through your eBook today! You're doing great work. I'm excited to learn more!

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  7. Hi April,
    I could not find an email for you so I decided the best way would be to leave a comment on your blog. Several weeks ago I read one of your blog posts from a few years back (i think) about studying the scriptures for an hour a day while taking care of young children. At the end of the post you offered to anyone who was interested more suggestions that you could email to them. I am hoping you can send me those suggestions if its not too much trouble! I don't have babies and preschoolers anymore, but with the arrival of summer I do not want my scripture habit to lapse like it usually does and I am thinking I can modify some of your suggestions to help me. I am up late with teenagers, up early with younger elementary age kids and now with the arrival of summer there is no alone time in the middle of the day! I am feeling a lot like those early motherhood days when I there is very little time alone. :)
    I also wanted to thank you so much for all the work that you do. I have been using M.O.M for about a year now and it has literally changed my life. I know that probably sounds dramatic but its true! I attended the Power of Moms retreat at the Eyres the beginning of May and I learned so much. I enjoy reading your blog and I am so sorry for the struggles you are having with your mom right now. I lost my mom when I was 19. The best advice I received was that even though she was gone, I could still take her with me. When I got married, when I had my babies, through my successes and failures and all of lifes other adventures, I could bring her with me by striving to be the kind of woman she always hoped I would become. I think often about the sacrifice and effort she put in as she raised us and I am eternally grateful. I wish you all the best as you travel this difficult road with your mom. It is a emotional, tender time. Thank you again for all you do. You have helped me be a better mother and I just wanted you to know how much I appreciate your vision and efforts.

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  8. sorry... My name is Janie Smith and my email is preferpiano@yahoo.com. I don't know how to publish a comment other than under anonymous! I'm a little technically challenged!

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  9. Tears flow as I read this....I'm new to your blog and I'm falling in love with it. My mom lives on the other side of the world with my sister - she has Alzheimer’s. When I moved (to Korea) a year ago I said good-bye to her and I knew it was good-bye in one way or another. I know when I get back to the states in 2014 she won't remember me or she will no longer be with us. I don't call her as often anymore because it is too painful for me. I'm calling her as soon as I read your post "The best way to lose a mom". Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Trish, I've been thinking about you for weeks now. I hope you've been able to talk with your mom on the phone and at least enjoy the sound of her voice--even if she isn't sure what she's talking about. I know it's hard--every single day. I just feel grateful to know others understand what it's like to go through this. Wishing you all the best! Love, April

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