A Child Shows the Way

by | Jun 10, 1998 | Acceptance, Love

“I’m here, Granny,” Ricky announced.

Mandy watched the small boy touch the old lady’s hand and smile at her. Mom Perkins looked blankly at him and said nothing. Ricky didn’t seem to care. He kept chattering away.

“Can we take Granny for a ride to see the lights, Mama,” he asked.

Mandy wondered what was the use. Her mother wouldn’t know whether there were Christmas lights or not. She didn’t realize it was Christmas any more, the season she always enjoyed.

They wheeled Mom Perkins to the activity room. There the nursing home’s Christmas tree shone with twinkling lights, and carols peeled forth from a CD player.

“See the lights Granny,” said Ricky, pointing to the colored lights.

“And here’s a Christmas ball. It has a picture of baby Jesus in the manger.”

Mom Perkins didn’t respond. But Ricky kept talking. She doesn’t understand, Mandy felt like shouting to her son. She’s not the person I remember. Mandy recalled Christmas celebrations of her childhood when her mother played such a prominent role.

Then Ricky tugged at her arm. “Granny smiled at me, Mama,” he said with a grin. “She likes thelights.”

Oh, yeah, thought Mandy.

Ricky continued, “See, she’s moving her hand to the music.”

Yes, Mom Perkins was patting the arm of the wheelchair almost as though she heard the music.

“She always liked Christmas carols,” Mandy explained to Ricky. “She liked to take us to church on Christmas when we sang carols.”

“She still likes them, Mama,” said Ricky.

Then he began patting the arm of the chair along with his grandmother. This is what Christmas is all about, thought Mandy, beginning to feel more at peace. A smile came to her face as she watched her son and his grandmother.

Ricky has shown me how to enjoy someone even when they can’t respond or be the person we remember. I have to accept Mom where she’s at. Mandy realized, too, that her mother could still enjoy Christmas but at a different level now.

It took a little boy to show me, she thought.

“Let’s take her to see more Christmas decorations, Mama,” said Ricky. Mandy helped Ricky push Mom Perkins down the hall to see a Christmas wreath with a bright red and silver bow.

Before they left the nursing home, Ricky placed an ornament he’d made on the nightstand beside the bed…a gift for his Granny.

But his greater gift is accepting her where she’s at, thought Mandy, and teaching me to do the same.

(c) 2000 Mary Emma Allen me.allen@juno.com


A Child Shows the Way