One weekend, my mother and I were at a family gathering. She was very excited all day and looked forward to seeing everyone.
During the course of the visit I noticed she became very quiet. I tried my best to gear the conversation to topics that she could participate in. Its difficult for her because she is the last living relative of her generation.
On such occasions, I try to role reversal. I consider how I would feel if a 50-year-old woman, like me, were in a room with teenagers. I can imagine how my mother feels during similar times, at 91. Its difficult for her to relate and engage in group conversations.
I walked over to the television, picked up the remote control, and checked out the TV guide channel. Reruns of Lawrence Welk, a 60s Saturday night family variety show, caught my attention. Mother loved the singing and accordion because it brought back memories of the good old days. The younger generation looked on with amusement; despite the age difference everyone was happy to see grandma in high spirits.
Everyone wants to feel accepted. Sometimes my family and I forget that Mother is in a room with feelings too. Small gestures make a huge difference. She named off all the performers, who was married, and other silly things. But she was talking. I finally had found something for her to participate in.
When the evening was done, Mother said she was grateful for the wonderful time. Her gratitude brought me joy.
Good night, sleep tight and pleasant dreams . . . the closing song of the Lawrence Welk show. We sing together it every night.