My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease almost three years ago, and the time has come for her and my dad to move somewhere safer. So, earlier this month, my two sisters and I met at my parents’ home to help them clean it out. Much of the linens, towels, and furniture had already been moved to my younger sister’s house, where my parents will soon be living, but what was left for us to handle was a mountain of dishware, books, and papers.
The papers proved to be especially time consuming: in addition to old bills and hospital records—my older sister’s birth in the early 1970s cost only $225 dollars!—my mother had kept every card she’d ever been given, and had bought myriad cards herself. We found anniversary cards from our aunts, birthday cards from our grandmothers, and blank cards to just say “Hello,” “Thank you,” or “Get well.” Cards adorned with butterflies, dragonflies, and ladybugs, cards from Christmases long ago (and from families we no longer kept in touch with), and some from this past year.
My older sister grabbed a few cards she thought my mother would appreciate in her new space, including several commemorating Mom’s birthday, which falls in February. In fact, while the three of us were in town, we took time on a cold, snowy evening to have a birthday dinner with my parents. That celebration didn’t make much sense to Mom; she’d forgotten it was her birthday and doesn’t know who we are anymore.
But recognizing her day made sense to us and it meant far more than it has in past years. It reminded me to celebrate every single day and every single moment, whether that moment encompasses a birthday, a simple hug, a coffee date with a friend, or the act of waking each day. It reminded me to catalog every memory—much like Mom cataloged her cards—and to revel in both the ordinary and the extraordinary.
This month, join us as we celebrate those ordinary and extraordinary events with some wonderful selections from our contributors.
Welcome to our February issue!
P.S. Stay connected between monthly issues by subscribing to our blog or by following us on social media. Also, explore our archives to discover more mothers’ voices!
The Eastern Wall by Karen Askarinam
Essential Reading: A Love Story compiled by Nerys Copelovitz
Reading Mommy’s (R-Rated) Book: An Adventure in Three Acts by Kim Zarins
A Conversation with Kim Zarins by Libby Maxey
A Review of Homing Instincts by Sarah Ohlin
Photos by Jamie Outrich, Rudri Patel, and Heather Vrattos