….. will be my mother’s 80th birthday.
The birthday cardigan has been knitted and wrapped.
This year we took Heidi Kirrmaier’s lovely pattern Rocky Road and we tweaked it just a little. Instead of three patterns repeated in bands we made every band different, and my mum picked the patterns she liked from a stitch directory. She loved that, it gave her a real involvement, and it sparked some lovely conversations when she was sitting in the lounge.
And she picked the yarn, RYC Cotton jeans in a lovely marled shade of blue. It’s the nicest cotton I have ever knit with and though the pattern doesn’t pop as it might, I don’t think that’s entirely a bad thing. It means that it’s not a ‘look at me’ cardigan, but knitters will spot the details ….
(One day I’ll get a decent camera and I won’t be rushing around at last minute to get a picture, but it hasn’t happened yet.)
An announcement has appeared in our local paper, with a photograph of my mum and Briar that she particularly likes. I’ve hung a pinboard in her room and put up some nice family photographs, and every time I see her in her room she points to that one and tells me what a good picture it is. So that one and her wedding picture stay, and I change the others from time to time.
Flowers have been ordered, because she has always loved them, and because I notice that she is always very aware of the things around her, and because I know she will still appreciate that ‘specialness’ of having flowers delivered.
And I have taken the day off so we can visit in the morning, because I know that’s the time of day when she’s at her brightest.
I think that’s the nicest birthday I can make for her.
I miss the days when we had birthdays at home. She loved an old fashioned high tea and a special cake, and I can still picture her sitting at the aga room table grinning from ear to ear.
And visiting a nursing home – however good the nursing home is – is just a visit, it’s not the same as being a family at home.
I miss the days when she would remember. Moving to a nursing home was the right thing, she needed the support, and in a strange way she’s more herself now she’s been freed from day to day concerns. Even though the dementia often leaves her confused, even though she’ll forgets so quickly.
I’m luckier than some daughters though, because she remembers me, she’s always pleased to see me, and she trusts me to remember things for her.
And I can still make happy moments, and I that think they stick, that the warmth lingers even if the memories that created don’t.