Friday, January 26, 2007

Dreams My Mother Taught Me

My Mom just got over a cold this week - and I’ve been over to her apartment more than usual lately to make sure that she takes her antibiotics (three times a day).

Anyway, we were watching "The Golden Girls" on TV one recent late afternoon, and I thought about how full and successful the lives and careers were of the older women who performed on that show. I also thought about how my own life has been so full of aspirations, personal and professional.

Then, I looked over at my Mom - and thought about her life and her aspirations. Certainly, she had to have had some of her own when she was young; she once had to have had her dreams.

So, I asked her to shut off the TV. I wanted to talk with her about her dreams. Even though I knew - and know - quite well that she has memory issues - long and short term, I still wondered about the aspirations that she once may have had as a child.

"Mom," I asked. "What did you want to be when you were a little girl?"

"What do you mean?" she returned.

"Well," I continued, "Did you ever have any dream job that you thought about doing when you grew up? Or did you ever have any dreams in general of what you wanted your life to be – or how you wanted your life to turn out?"

My Mom sat there for a moment, with these questions, searching her memory, which had clearly been erased by the various stages of Alzheimer’s. Yet, somehow, she glanced over at me, determined to give me an answer, and replied., "I guess it was always my dream to one day go to a community center on a daily basis, where I would have a good meal, be with people, play cards and bingo. That was always my dream."

At first, I was startled and sad for her. Whatever aspirations she may have had as child, a teen or a young adult, were gone, lost in the deep sleep of her memory.

But then, after a moment, I was happy for her.

My Mom had convinced herself in the short new history of her life that going to the Senior Center (every day for the last seven years) was the fulfillment of a life-long dream – and that she was content.

I felt God shining upon and through her that day.