Five days from now I’ll be on my way to Arizona to bring my mom to California.
This afternoon I saw her room at the new assisted living community for the first time. Empty, it’s fairly unremarkable – just a short hallway leading to a 16×12 room with a bathroom and closet – but the carpet is new and the bathroom is sparkling clean. The room was stuffy even with the window open, so the first thing we did was set up the oscillating fan I brought. Then we measured all the walls and planned where the furniture will go. I keep vacillating between excitement about having Mom close by and anxiety that might be disappointed that she gave up her luxurious apartment to come here.
My friend Joy met me there to help take measurements and explored the facility with me. It’s a converted hotel and it definitely has a hotel feel – which, as Joy pointed out, is much better than feeling like a hospital. We looked at the big activity calendar posted on the wall and talked about things my mom might like to do and how we could help her get a Scrabble game started there in the evenings. Joy has been an activity director at nursing homes, so she’s the perfect person to help me make sure that Mom gets acclimated and socialized in her new home. She offered to help on move-in day and I’m thinking I’ll ask her to keep Mom entertained while my brother and I move in the furniture. I think if Mom sees the room for the first time filled with her familiar furniture, that will make a much better first impression than the empty room.
I am excited about having Mom here, about being able to see her a couple times a week instead of one visit every couple months. I keep thinking about restaurants she might like and fun things we can do together, like Music in the Park next summer. There will be such peace of mind knowing that she’s only two miles away and I can check on her any time I want. Maybe, once she’s settled in, I’ll have more energy to focus on building my own life again. A new chapter in both our lives is about to begin.