My Dad had died one month earlier and I was in my hometown caring for my Mom for a two week stretch of time, my Mom's last two weeks in her home. We made only some day trips up to camp. I kept a journal, to preserve what we were sharing, and although I am grateful I recorded my days with her, I haven't had the courage to read my written entries. But I will...someday.
Tonight, Emma and I visited with my Mom in her new home---I recounted how Emma and I were caught in the rain this afternoon and Mom took my arms and exclaimed how cold they were before taking them both to warm in her hands. I stole a few extra hugs to last me a few weeks--hugging her is the same as it's always been--there is nothing in the world that can compare to a mother's embrace! I am so thankful that she is safe, content, and still so very sweet. My love for her...?! Well, my cup runneth over! I'm grateful that I've come so far in realizing and accepting that although she may not remember me as her daughter, or call me by name, the heart indeed has "muscle memory" and she lights up when she sees my face and she tells me, "I love you too" when I say it to her.
My time at camp will have me seeing and hearing both Mom and Dad at every turn. I will miss them there, just as I've missed them in other places---here in my own home, in the audience of performances--and at other locations and times. But I am so incredibly lucky to have had them both as parents and as wonderful grandparents for my three children. At camp I'll miss Dad's puttering and his pancakes and cribbage games and his taking us on the boat, pointing out all the various camps and visiting the boomhouse--and how I'd make him smile and laugh when I made fun of his skinny white legs after he finally found it warm enough to don shorts. I'll miss Mom telling me where to spot the loons she'd see on the water, and our talking about menus, the grandchildren, and the way we'd watch the weather coming at us from across the lake. I'll miss us all enjoying quiet evenings reading in our own books or occasionally playing a family board game all together at the kitchen table. I'll miss our goodnight hugs and kisses. I'll think about the special heart-to-heart talks Dad and I had on the dock and the way Mom scolded me just two summers ago when I unintentionally frightened her by coming in from kayaking past sunset. "Don't you ever do that again! I couldn't see you!"....I'll remember making them laugh by crawling in between them in their bed, decades after it was normal to do so, and I'll think of Dad telling me the stories of building the camp when Mom was expecting me. I'll miss seeing Dad return to Mom's recliner chair several times to kiss my Mom good morning after asking her, "Have I given you a kiss yet this morning?!" and hearing her giggle her answer, "No" or "Yes. And more...so much more...
So many memories. I was so SO loved...so very spoiled as some would say---I was so blessed to have had such a close relationship with my Mom and Dad for those 45+ years. And now, just as Dad said must happen, I'll go back to this beloved camp again with my husband and our children to continue the joy and the love of new memories in the making.