Saturday, 23 June 2012
Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May by John William Waterhouse
Mum pointed out the poignancy of these words, etched in stained glass on the front door of my childhood home in the Lake District when we went back for a visit in 2008. (Pictured in front of the door are me, my husband Ian and Chrissy's younger sister Alex).
The carefree days we'd spent there from 1968-1970 before moving back down south for dad's job, had been some of the happiest of our lives. Then, we'd been blissfuly unaware of the double whammy that lay ahead - dad's early onset Alzheimer's and the problems with his first grandchild.
Being Chrissy's mum and, of course getting older, has highlighted for me the value of seizing the moment and treasuring the good times.
Yesterday was one of those times. Chrissy was having a sunshine day, and lit up the house with her smiles, laughter and funny comments. I banished fleeting thoughts of 'I wish you'd been like this last Friday at the zoo.' With Chrissy, you have to go with the flow.
My book is threaded with references to such sunshine days - Chrissy's doctor noting her 'delightful social manner,' a trip to the circus where her whole body vibrates with joy, her uninhibited exuberance as she conducts a small orchestra at a village fete, her face wreathed in smiles at a school meeting as she shows me her record of achievement book.
Her wonderful times are as unpredictable as her awful ones - but yesterday, whatever it is that robs her of her equilibrium stayed well away. She was so joyful that she even sang to herself as she pottered around the house and, as she watched her new Snowman DVD, which I'd bought to replace one she'd broken, she enthused: 'I love Snowman!' After dinner she made us laugh by asking: 'Mummy can I have something else to eat?' and immediately admonishing herself: 'No, Chrissy, you've already had your tea.' Beaming smiles and social chit-chat replaced last week's moans, groans and outbursts. With encouragement, she was confident enough to carry out several self-help tasks independently, like taking her shoes off and changing into her slippers, and going to her bedroom by herself to choose DVDs to bring down. Normally, she demands: 'you help me!'
I've learned over the years that it doesn't matter where you are or what you're doing when Chrissy has a sunshine day - you simply bask in the warmth of its glow & enjoy it while it lasts.....
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