Thursday, July 25 2024 - 10:55 AM
Photo by Jeremy Wong with Unsplash

Color Me Grateful

What wakes me up in the morning is not the pitter-patter of little feet, but rather the lack thereof. Sure, those size six-and-a-half tootsies may be speckled with coppery brown age spots on their bottoms from her 85 years of walking to and fro inside the classroom, church and home, but they are beautiful nonetheless. During my lifetime, my beloved “mommy,” a pillar of the community, has never been sick other than two common colds, each of which lasted about three days. Even then, my Mom refused to be incapacitated. She assiduously maintained the house, graded papers, and helped my sister and me with our homework. Moreover, the five feet, two inches tall former North Carolina homecoming queen has proudly maintained her petite figure. She has lived a modest lifestyle replete with good works, charity and faith.

Eight years ago, when my mom suffered a right brain stroke, I never imagined that she would eventually become bed bound and need around-the-clock care. How was I to know that becoming her primary caregiver would challenge me in ways far beyond my divorce, earning my doctorate, and becoming a high school administrator? What amazes me the most is that none of this was a surprise to God. When He promoted me to this full-time position, He knew that my gratefulness quotient would be multiplied exponentially. He knew that my vision of a “good day” would transform like a kaleidoscope as I began to see the beauty in everyday life with new lenses. These lenses aren’t necessarily the rose-tinted ones, but they filter the color of my outlook masterfully nonetheless.

A Beautiful Day

So now, when my mommy knows my name, it’s a beautiful day. On days when she calls me “Mommy,” it’s a beautiful day. When her dementia causes her to mistakenly fuss about “the noise in the classroom” or “the students needing to put their books away and line up in the hallway,” it’s still a beautiful day because she is able to talk and express herself. That is certainly a far cry from the six months that she lay in the bed with her eyes closed and never uttered a word.  Now hearing my mommy speak is like music to my ears. I’ve gotten stronger and wiser through this complex and cherished journey with Mom. I can take the good, the bad, and the ugly. And I can still give God thanks for everything concerning us.

It’s a fact that there’s really no such thing as a day off during this season of my life. But that has become okay with me. The prisms of my heart, mind, and soul now yield a myriad of colors far more vibrant than those of my past. And out of them all, my new favorite color is the color “grateful.”

Sherri Valentine writes from Illinois.

If you liked this, you may also like Love Takes Time | Caring for Elderly Parents 

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About Sherri Valentine

Sherri Valentine

writes from Illinois.

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