peas in a pod

Figuring out how I can leave Calvin and Michael behind when I fly out to visit my mom in San Diego is no easy task, and it'd be akin to masochism to take Calvin on such a long flight to a place where we wouldn't be able to use his johnny-jump-up, or have an enclosed bed or a high chair that would fit him, all of which are our saving grace. So instead, I've got to coordinate their spring breaks so that Calvin is in school while Michael is not. Then I've got to get nursing coverage to help Michael out while he works his long hours in the studio. Plus, he's got to make Calvin's meals, grocery shop, do the laundry, walk the dog, prepare Calvin's meds, change his diapers, repeatedly get up in the middle of the night to reposition and cover Calvin, and get him dressed, fed and ready for the bus, most of which cannot be done easily because of the necessity of hands-on assist to Calvin.  But I need to see Mom, and I always plan the trip thinking it might be the last time I'll set my eyes upon her, or any semblance of her.

On the phone the other day she wasn't as peppy and upbeat as usual. I wonder why one day is different than another, but then I realize that is the way of the world and why should Alzheimer's be any different. She asked me where I was and when I'd be coming to visit. I told her—again—that I lived in Maine with my husband and child and that I'd be coming to visit her in the spring. Then she piped up a bit.

"Oh, that'd be superduper!" she exclaimed, "I can hardly hope to meet you!"
"Me too, mom, we'll do a lot of fun things together. How does that sound?"
"That sounds grrreat!" she replied.
"What kind of things would you like to do when I'm there, Mom?"
"Oh, I haven't even thought about it."
"Would you like to go out to lunch?"
"You betcha!" she exclaimed (her most favorite reply) then added, "Get here quick, Hon."
"Why?" I asked, with some concern, maybe reading too much into her request.
"Because I love you," she said, and my heart skipped a beat.

And so, in the face of loosing one of Calvin's best nurses ever to a better paying job, I'll have to wrangle up another one somehow so I can leave my boys behind without risk of driving Michael into the ground, without breaking his back or his spirit or his great sense of calm caring for our crazy nine-year-old kid who can't do anything for himself. Then I'll sail away to California to help take care of my mom to some extent, to hold her hand on long walks, manage a few of her meals so she doesn't eat to fast or devour the salt and sugar packets on the table, help her in the bathroom, sleep in her bedroom a couple of nights to give my brother a break, and get up with her several times when she wakes and needs to go to the bathroom. So much like caring for Calvin, I think.

And though it likely won't happen again, I think to myself and smile, if I could just get Calvin and Mom together, I know they'd be two lovely, silly peas in a pod.

March 2012


  1. You are, truly, of the sandwich generation. And that photo is beautiful.

    (and I'm coming to SD to meet you when you come)

  2. i'll take a blt or a pbj anytime. mostly baloney. xoxo