Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Crosswords & Mac and Cheese

Went to visit mom last night at her new place. It was the first time visiting her on a weekday after work, so I had to work out the best commute beforehand. Luckily, there are several alternate routes of travel for me, because the Sherrill House is well-serviced by public transportation, so I may find that, depending on the day, and where my commute starts from, I may change up my route frequently.

Yesterday, my coworkers and I had planned to try a southern food restaurant for lunch, so I called mom at noon to tell her I'd be bringing her mac and cheese for dinner. Turned out that the restaurant was closed when we arrived, but I couldn't bring myself to make the let-down phone call. Mom talks about mac and cheese -- a lot. I know it sounds silly but I think  she is really still in her food 'honeymoon' phase... which... well, makes sense, since she is always in a food honeymoon phase, as a general rule. Anyway, I knew I had to find her some mac and cheese before I visited. It was of the utmost importance - I couldn't let her down! And it had to be GOOD mac and cheese. So, after giving my coworkers the third degree on where I should go to get some decent mac and cheese en route to my mom's place, I settled on either Whole Foods, Boston Market or Au Bon Pain, which all are located in a certain geographical area within fifty feet of each other. I ended up going with Whole Foods, because I could also pick up some other stuff there, and besides, I knew they'd do a good job with the mac and cheese.

I was pleasantly surprised to arrive and find mom sitting in her wheelchair, nicely dressed. It's getting to be a normal thing to see mom this way and seeing her was a ray of sunshine. I hadn't seen her in a day, and I just had to sit down with her, look at her for a minute and smile and hold her hand and tell her how good it is to see her. It's just so good to see her after a day off. And she looked great.

When I arrived, mom was very focused on the fact that, during our visit, she would need to complete her homework, which consisted of two crossword puzzles that her Speech Therapist had left for her to do. Besides the mac and cheese, that was her main obsession of the night. I was thrilled to see her so urgently motivated to get this homework done. It was the most motivated I'd ever seen her to "work", on her own accord. I did not have to prod her to start. I do have to play the Tough Love role once we work together -- especially when she tells ME to read the clues, or ME to write for her -- my answer is always uh-uh, no way -- this is YOUR homework, not mine!  That is expected, and she accepts/knows that this is HER work to do, not mine, I am there to assist her in HER doing the work. To be totally honest, when I first saw those crossword puzzles, I was a little concerned that she would not be able to complete them in their entirety. In fact, I was pretty sure that they would not get done in their entirety. But she turned out to be a bulldozer. She really wanted to finish them, and she did an amazing job. I was really, really proud of her. And I was SO happy to see some of that fire to succeed. Maybe it's something about crossword puzzles that flipped the switch for her. Dolly is a total crossword queen, so the fact that the homework consisted of crosswords may have been a big factor. But, I am pretty sure that the drive came from a combination of factors. I think she is really working hard now partially because she is seeing such progress in herself, and that is exciting to her and is really propelling her.

The mac and cheese was a hit, by the way.


  1. I'm so glad you are seeing some of your mom's "fire" come back.

    Whole Foods mac and cheese - good choice!!

  2. Sounds like a good day! I'm so happy that she's making progress!!