I have read about those Challenges. I’ve seen them here on WP for things such as kindness, photography, gratitude. There are many and I love the idea–I often read them–but I rarely participate. I’m not sure why, but after yesterday I am rethinking my behavior.
I went to see mom. She’s 88 and now calls Independent Living her home. Indeed, it’s quite nice and she’s made many friends. She’s nestled into a cozy apartment perfect for her at this time in her life.
But, often with age comes inactivity which, as expected, directly affects health. My sister and I encourage our mother to walk on a regular basis. Her doctors have suggested a daily, 30 minute walk. Mom uses a cane in the halls and when she leaves the building. Inside her apartment and our homes, she walks very well without help. She is not fragile, and for 88, is in pretty good health (not counting the arthritis in her fingers).
Yesterday, mom agreed to walk the halls. I was determined to keep her moving for 30 minutes. It was 10:23. I grabbed my phone, she her cane and keys, and off we went. We’d been strolling but a few minutes when we ran into Eleanor. Eleanor is very chatty. The fall six weeks back that cracked her tailbone changed the course of her daily activities. We met up on the first of her two, daily walks. We chatted for several minutes, including about the family history of those she knew back in Ohio with the same last name as mom, then turned to go. I like Eleanor. It was very good for mom to see what Eleanor can do after a severe injury. It’s an example I’ve parked on the back burner.
And, I’ll fess up: I prolonged our chat with Eleanor. We marveled over her comeback from that nasty fall and how much fun Genealogy can be…partly because I saw Ed leave his apartment. He was heading our way. I like Ed. But Ed’s a hugger. This is flu season and I do not want to shake hands, I do not want to hug or breathe in sickly molecules. I don’t want to touch door knobs. I’m far from unfriendly; this is survival.
Ed did not stop and offer hugs, thankfully, as we engaged in conversation with Eleanor. He walked past us and I was most thankful.
Her smile spoke volumes: she spied us before we knew what hit us. No sooner had we left Eleanor and were turning around when we saw Blanche sitting in a chair in her room. Her door was wide open; she was watching the hall. She said nothing but her grin did. It was that “come hither” and “I know you want to” look. Under my breath I smiled and said to mom, “Keet noothing,” you know, the language ventriloquists use to prevent the lips from touching. But mom, in her sweetness, said to me, “Oh, you have to see her toothpick containers.” I kept smiling. Before I knew it we were standing inside Blanche’s apartment marveling over her display–the count must exceed 150–on the five wooden shelf units attached to a wall behind her strategically placed chair. Blanche had collected containers of varying color, shape, material, and theme from the world over. It was impressive.
After walking the full length of mom’s floor and as we neared the elevator, I suggested we tackle the floor above. She was game and I was soon to find out why. We enjoyed seeing how people decorate their doors, the ceramic animals that sit outside and the cheery quilts on some. We enjoyed the various Welcome signs that greet visitors as they approach. I pointed it out when I saw that a Margaret lives in 310. Mom’s name is Margaret, and her address of 51 years before Independent Living was 310. We both smiled.
There was one door in particular that made me smile. It wasn’t the lady ready for Valentine’s Day whose door sparkled with red streamers and hearts on both sides. Nor was it the lady whose door welcomed visitors with a stream of red Valentine lights. It was this:
I think it appalled mom who is very private and wouldn’t in a million years do what I was about to do. That didn’t stop me. I pulled out my camera and took not one but two shots of this wooden sign. I didn’t just smile, this one made me laugh. I pocketed my phone and we continued.
Visiting is fine, but I was on a mission. Apparently, so was mom. I was about to find out what she wanted to see. We continued down the hall. She’s been telling me about the noise directly above her apartment. She said it’s a man and he’s awfully loud. Under her breath, she mentioned his name. But as we approached the door above her apartment, she was surprised to see the name on the door wasn’t the one she expected. The man who lives directly above mom is not the man she’d assumed. The one she’s been mad at lives further down the hall and around the corner. We both smiled and finished our tour.
We headed back to mom’s apartment. As we walked inside I looked at the time. It was 11:01. Bingo! We did it.
As I reflect on yesterday’s visit, I realize that I smiled many, many times while on our walk. Mom did too as she proudly introduced me to her many friends. She learned a few things as did I. The walk was nostalgic, friendly, inspiring, humorous, and healthy, if not a bit nutty.
From now on, I aim to find the smiles, to challenge myself to find the joy. Sometimes it’s in the little things, in simple moments with loved ones, that bring happiness.
When it gets a little nutty, and it will, just smile and keet noothing.
❤ What are the little things that bring you joy and smiles? ❤