It had been a long, hot summer with little to no rain. I watered my gardens daily and got a break from mowing since the grass barely grew. It was the middle of August and this particular day was a scorcher.
Out running errands, I decided to stop and see my mom at her assisted living residence. I was thrilled to see her whole floor out front on the porch, most in wheelchairs, some in rocking chairs, drinking juice and soda, having snacks and enjoying the outdoors.
As I approached, my mom looked happy to see me and I thought I detected a note of recognition, as well. I never knew what to expect when I visited, and I always took quiet time on my ride to prepare myself mentally and emotionally to meet her in whatever time period she was in and be whoever she needed me to be. I actually enjoyed going with the flow, listening and learning so much about my mom that I never knew. But it stung, too, and some times were easier than others.
On this day, we sat and chatted. A UPS truck pulled into the entrance and my mom called out, “Hello!” and clapped for him. She clapped again as he left, shouting, “Goodbye!” An employee pulled into the lot and my mom clapped for her, as well. One of the women started hitting another and was told she’d be moved if she didn’t stop. She didn’t stop. They tried to get her to stand, but she was staging a sit in protest. Finally, they got her to her feet and my mother gave a huge round of applause and praised, “You did it!” There was so much clapping for the next half hour…for the cars and visitors in and out, the pouring of soda, a bird perched on a nearby branch.
The sky had been darkening this whole time and a wind had begun to kick up. Suddenly, large rain drops began to fall. My mom clapped. The rain became heavier, smaller and the ground drank it up, but it was too much for the parched surface and little floods of runoff flowed past our feet. I was watching one’s particular path when my mother burst into her most thunderous and enthusiastic round of applause yet. She was joined by one, then several, then many of her neighbors. I looked up to follow their gaze and saw that the parking lot had turned to a river, too, but it was carrying bubbles. The women let out delighted “Oohs” and “Aahs” and my mother clapped and clapped. I snapped her picture and knew it was one I would treasure as I thought back on this moment in time. The innocence, joy, and wonder were so moving and reminded me to be grateful for the simple pleasures in life.
Photo: Bridgewater, NJ. 8.22.23 by LA
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