What Alzheimer’s Teaches – Part 3

Part 1 of this series encouraged us to be patient. Part 2 reminded us that each day counts. What is another lesson that Alzheimer’s Disease can teach us?

Make Positive Memories.Number 3

When our memories begin to deteriorate, we’ll want our children and other family members to remember good times we’ve shared together.

Life is so busy with work, school and more work – with paying bills, facing conflict and fear. But in the midst of all the hubbub, we need to make positive memories.

Because each day is important, we can spend those 24 hours doing things together that will give our loved ones the opportunity to say, “Remember when?”

One of my favorite memories about Mom happened when I was 11. We were at the library where we visited weekly and checked out stacks of books. I browsed through the young adult section but couldn’t find any books I hadn’t already read. So I wandered into the adult section and chose two of those books.

However, when I tried to check them out, the librarian told me I wasn’t allowed to check anything out of the adult section.

Mom found me crying behind one of the shelves.

“What’s wrong with you?” she asked. Mom was never a nurturer and if we cried, then there’d better be a  good reason.

I told her what happened. She grabbed my hand and marched with me to the main desk where she confronted the librarian.

“I understand you won’t let my daughter check out these books.”

“Shh,” said the librarian. “Ma’am, these books are from the adult section and your daughter isn’t yet an adult. We can’t allow her to check them out.”

My mother stood her ground with every bit of her 5’8” stature and said, “May I remind you that my taxes pay for the electricity in this building, and the books…and your salary.”

I thought Mom was ten feet tall.

“But ma’am,” said the librarian in her whispery voice. “We just can’t allow….”

“Do I need to speak to your superior or to one of the board members for this public library so that my tax money will be used properly? There’s nothing in these books that will hurt my daughter, and if she wants to check them out – then she’s going to check them out.”

I left that day with “The Grapes of Wrath” and “The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt.” I read them both and loved them, and I never had trouble checking any books out of the library again.

I imagine that somewhere in that library system, there still exists a 3×5 card with my name on it and a notation, “Beware of Mother.”

That was my mom. She fought fiercely for her kids, and I treasure the memory of her bold love.

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