I counted 16 clocks in my parents’ house, but only a handful of them showed the correct time. One was 40 minutes fast, another was 20 minutes behind. It was too confusing, so I check my iPhone and set all the clocks to the same time.
It’s been ten years since my mom first started to show signs of dementia. Now she requires constant care. There are other signs of it around the house. The sign on the back door reminding her to close the door. The “please don’t call 911″ note by the phone after she called a couple times with no reason.
My mom wants to show me something in the guest room. It was my room as a teenager, but after I moved out, my mother repainted it in a safe neutral shade of misty taupe.
She motions for me to look in the bedroom with her, but once there, she can’t remember why. She stands there and looks around, then abruptly turns around and leaves. She repeats this a few more times.
Later in the morning I help her sit down to eat the popcorn snack I made for her. While she eats I clean out the pantry shelves since it’s been a long time since someone was able to do that job.
She gets up by herself and goes to look again in the guest bedroom. This time she remembers. Unable to speak (she lost her ability to speak a few years ago) she struggles to type me a message on the iPad. “These are.” But it doesn’t look right to her, so she tries again.
“These are.” Backspace. Backspace.
I sit down and lean my head back in the rocking chair and wait for her to finish.
“These are the quilts.” Finally she is able to finish it: “These are the quilts my grandmother made.” And she motions for me to have one.
I pull the quilts out from under the bed and untie the strips of muslin. I find one that I last looked at twenty-five years ago with small squares of vintage fabric in a double wedding ring pattern and perfectly even stitches on a blue background. I love it. In a different season, this would be a touching moment, but right now I don’t have the emotions left to spend.
My dad provides most of my mom’s care, and when he gets back from work I get ready to leave for my hour-long drive home. The special quilt comes home with me, rolled up and placed in the front passenger seat. My youngest child sleeps in his car seat. Next to him my oldest child is telling me why Alvin and the Chipmunks is such a funny show, and it has to do with how the man is always yelling “Alviiiin!”
I don’t know what I will do with this quilt, but for now I set it aside until I can do something with it later.
That’s what I’ve been doing with this blog, this treasured belonging of mine, trusting that it would be there later while I coped with life changes. I have half-written posts that I couldn’t finish but couldn’t explain why. I will try again, because I love this blog and it is mine. And I’m amazed that even though my life looks very different, the theme of this blog always remains the same: making a home in a temporary place.