Rather than “sheltering in place” in our home with my husband, John, I am staying with my mom in her farm home north of Woodland. Surrounded by three hundred acres of agriculture, I am able to walk three to five miles a day and explore growing crops and vibrant creek beds and levees. My theme and mantra seems to be, “slow down.” That is also my lesson.
Moving here has made me slow to the pace that life with my 92-year-old mom necessitates. I listen more than ever, trying to make sense of her “slowing down,” of the fears and concerns that I didn’t know she was carrying. I listen to her struggle to find the right words that seem to allude her, and I hear the frustration and anger that go with that struggle. I talk more slowly, partly because she is challenged by growing deafness, but also because words seem to confound her more and she is forced to process at a slower pace. Certainly, I am not grateful for the pandemic; I miss time with my husband while puttering and multi-tasking around our home and garden. I miss my friends and the activity that surrounds keeping friendships vibrant. However, the pandemic has blessed me with the opportunity to slow down with my mom, to strive to understand her aging process more acutely and to give her the time that I know she needs and is grateful to receive.